Key Points Don’t Always Hurt You…BUT They Do Hurt!

We bought this cool compact treadmill but found that it was marking up the wood floor, so I purchased a mat. The mat arrived a few days later in a taped cardboard box which was taped like a mummy. Anyway, out came the utility knife! I bent over the box without kneeling, reach as far forward as I could and plunged the blade into the gap between the flap and box. As I pulled the blade towards myself, I swiftly cut the taped seam. As the blade came closer, I just nicked my pant leg – a near miss!

I was lucky, but many people in factories are not as lucky as I was. At the recent TWI Summit, Don Dinero and I were talking about key points and how they don’t always burn you, but when they do…they hurt! When I had my near miss...something Don said quickly came to mind: key points don't alway hurt you, but eventually they will! If you have been in any of Don's JI sessions, you know his coffee maker story about key points. If you love coffee like I do, you will find his story about not knowing key points absolutely tragic ;)

Back to my knife problem. How many times have you done something a certain way, only to have it go wrong and you are left scratching your head – “what just happened here? Every other time I’ve done it this way, it worked just fine!” We end up writing it off as a fluke, failing to miss the critical passage of a missed key point.

Surprisingly, I see people cutting towards their bodies or digits often, making the same unconscious mistake that I made. And that is the problem, isn’t it? We do our jobs unconsciously, not really thinking about what we are doing because we think we know the job so well. The reality is, we are often just plain lucky.

I thought about my near miss and wrote a break down sheet so I could work my way through the potential problems I encountered. One of the problems was that if I had kneeled, I probably would have taken my time, in control and not rushed – rather than try to make one cut. If I was kneeling next to the box, I certainly wouldn’t have cut towards my legs.

Often people will purchase cut-proof gloves, safety knifes and fish knives and rely on the PPE to protect employees. Amazingly, I’ve seen people remove the guarding or mechanisms on safety knives, only so they become a more general purpose tool. The reality is this, unless people know the key points of the job, they will never know standard. If they don’t know the standard you are just plain lucky something hasn’t gone wrong today. The following link will bring you to my example JBS:

Job Instruction Breakdown Sheet Example

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At May 23, 2008 at 4:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bryan...the link to the job instruciton breakdown is not working.

Great blog! Keep up the great posts!

Robert Cenek
Cenek Report


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