Ah, yes, Safe 6, (Safely Working Skills) not just a plain, ordinary safe work practice. Safe 6 is a true, clear and structured representation of a safe work practice. What’s so great about that? Well, there are plenty of checklists, toolbox talks, and articles on specific tasks. You can come up with them on your own if you want. If you are using a checklist developed by someone else, how do you know if it’s complete? If you develop your own safe work practice, how do you know it’s complete short of doing a full JHA?
Safe 6, by its design, is self-defining. Each step in Safe 6 can be applied to any task. One step may be more relevant than another, but they all still apply. I’ll be coming back with a more complete discussion of each step in Safe 6 in the future. But, here’s the digest version:
Recognize All the Dangers – Know the Task
Prepare and Organize the Workspace – Gather Everything Needed
Inspect and Check the Equipment – Eliminate the Unexpected
Control the Conditions and Eliminate Dangers – Make it Safe
Operate and Complete the Task Skillfully – The Do’s
Guard Against Mishaps – The Don’ts
These steps make sense. They are logical and not difficult to remember. If Safe 6 is used as the structure and form for Safely Working in the workplace, employees will begin to address tasks using Safe 6. Safe 6 will become what it takes to get the job done safely. If that happens, employees will be in control of their Safely Working Environment. (We’ll talk about that another day.)
In an ideal workplace, every task would have its own Safe 6 Brief (a safe work practice – Safe 6 style.) Great idea, good goal — but maybe not possible right now. So, where does that leave us? You don’t have to have a binder full of Safe 6 Briefs to benefit from the value of Safe 6. Let’s look at how use Safe 6.
Safe 6 as the Rule
Safe 6 as the Meeting Agenda
Safe 6 as the Training Objectives
Safe 6 as the Corrective Conversation
Safe 6 as the Mentoring Guide
Safe 6 as the Solution
First, we establish Safe 6 as the one rule to rule them all. That means that as we work forward, Safe 6 is used as the structure and theme to workplace activities. Safe 6 Briefs are developed and used for every task. As I said, you can ‘t expect to develop them all in an instant. That will take time. The convenient way is to develop them before you schedule and conduct training.
Use the steps in Safe 6 as the objectives for a training class. This is when you can build that Safe 6 Brief. Think about this: If you already have a Safe 6 Brief prepared, you already the heart of a meeting agenda. That will give you time to refine some of the specific objectives you have for the training. For a Toolbox Safety Session, the Safe 6 Brief is perfect. Conducting the session will be a breeze for Supervisors. By its structure, Safe 6 lends itself to easy discussion and group interaction.
If Safe 6 is the one rule, then it will be easy for supervisors to have corrective conversations with employees not using Safe 6. It will also be helpful for experienced employees mentoring new hires or newly transferred employees into the work area.
Safe 6 will be the solution because it will be part of the vocabulary of the workplace. The Safe 6 Brief will be front and center, not a checklist or Toolbox Talk that only comes out during obligatory safety meetings. That’s why we say “Safe 6, Do It All The Time!”
I intend to stay on track in the next article as I relate all this to the original reason for this series: to explain how supervisors can leverage Safe 6 to their team’s benefit.
©2014-2015 The Safely Working Project & P.D. Shafer III
minor edits 7/8/15
“Safe 6” is a registered trademark of Trailmarker Ltd.
“Safely Working” is a trademark of Trailmarker Ltd.