Lean *is* Safety
Saw this quote in an article about safety:
“A range of issues and concerns fall under the rubric of ‘globalization,’ from the challenges of maintaining safe and healthy workplaces amidst the pressures of lean manufacturing environments…”
I suspect this article didn’t mean “lean manufacturing” environments, but maybe meant lean “manufacturing environments” if you see the distinction there. If they meant “lean” in terms of “strapped for people and resources” (the wrong definition of lean) then I could see safety being a concern. If they meant “lean” as the Toyota Production System (the right definition), then declines in safety shouldn’t be a problem or a worry.
Now, I’m not a pollyanna and I realize Toyota’s not perfect on safety. They’re human. But, there’s nothing in stated lean methodologies or philosophies that says worker safety isn’t important. Quite the opposite from my first-hand experience with lean outside of Toyota.
When I was in non-lean environments, traditional mass production, that’s when I’ve seen the LEAST concern for worker safety.