Dan Hannan, CSP and Debra Hilmerson

As 5S methodology and lean building practices become more wide spread in the construction industry, there is a growing need for smart safety solutions that are designed to align with lean building practices. Originally developed by the Japanese in the early 1900’s, the 5S methodology aims for systematic order and efficiency to improve the way work is performed in manufacturing and construction to eliminate wasted time, energy, and materials. 5S methodology is built on the idea that a well organized and managed work space yields efficient work, a quality product, and a safer work environment. Specifically, the 5S methodology refers to:

Sorting—to reduce time looking for items, simplify inspection, make the best use of space, and eliminate obstacles that are hazards.

Setting—materials in locations that support efficient work flow.

Shining—or keeping the work space neat and orderly to allow ease of visual inspection and prevent slip, trip, fall hazards.

Standardizing—or developing practices/procedures that make for repetitive actions and achieve desired predictable outcomes.

Sustaining—or verifying that 5S methodology is being performed and is working through plan-do-check-act observations.

When applied in construction, 5S methodology and lean principles have a well-documented record of improving overall quality and profitability. As such, all aspects and phases of the building process should be assessed to identify obvious inefficiencies, and safety systems are no exception.

With over fifty years of combined construction safety experience, and two years of research on job sites, the team at Hilmerson Safety designed and developed an engineered guardrail system that aligned with 5S methodology and lean principles in the construction industry to support the needs of large general contractors. When implemented the Hilmerson Safety Rail System™ (HSRS) delivers significant time, labor, and cost savings by adhering to 5S methodology in the following ways:

Sorting—Installation and inventorying is easy when supported with neatly organized and configured guardrail kits that are self-contained with minimal components.

Setting—A complete kit contained on mobile carts allows all guardrail components to be neatly stored and easily moved while eliminating double or triple handling of materials to achieve a desired “just in time” delivery of equipment to the point of operation.

Shining—The construction and installation of conventional 2×4 wooden guardrail produces scrap material, debris, and hazards that must be removed. Using engineered guardrail systems like the HSRS eliminates this clutter—it’s a “clean” and visually appealing product.

Standardizing—Guardrail panels and bases are easily laid out, installed, dismantled, and moved to their next location creating a simple and standardized process that will eliminate variation and shortcuts. This standardized installation process allows for rapid installs as fast as 10 feet per minute. Watch here

Sustaining—American steel and American manufacturing ensure a construction grade product with a long durable life that offers significant return on investment and sustained contribution to an organization’s 5S methodology.

If you’re looking for innovative and lean solutions to meet industry demands, it’s time to start looking at your leading edge protection.