Friday, 4 December 2009

Visual control for safety example (1)

One of the most common applications for visual control is in the area of safety; specifically, to highlight a hazard. A common example is seen in the photo below. These steps are found outside the Tiong Bahru MRT station. Because of the jagged shape of the steps, there is a danger that people in a hurry may trip over them. Hence the edge of the steps are painted in bright yellow colour to highlight the unsafe condition.

However such visual controls devices are not very useful if they are not well-maintained. The other day, I was at the Ghim Moh wet market when I saw a delivery man trip over this low ledge in the floor. Fortunately, the man who was carrying some goods did not fall down. As you can see from the photos below, the paint on the floor has faded. The visual control device has lost its effectiveness.

You may say that this is a very minor problem. But, one principle we often emphazise when it comes to 5S and Safety is that it is always the small things that count. Many serious accidents are caused by minor shortcomings the workplace. If you are not convinced, ask this gentleman.