C.O.R.E. 2062 Safety Database
A collection of the industrial safety practices used and supported by FRC team C.O.R.E. 2062

5S Principles

The 5S’s are guidelines that were created in Japan to improve efficiency in the workplace. Likewise, you can use them to keep your work area safe because efficiency is at the basis of safety. If something is unsafe and causes an accident, it is inefficient. The 5S’s are: Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain.

Sort: If all of your robot parts are thrown together in one messy place, trying to find, say, a certain size nut or bolt would be next to impossible, especially if you need it in a short amount of time. To eliminate such a struggle, you can use sort to separate all of these parts by size and type, making them organized and easy to find.

Straighten: After you’ve sorted everything, it’s helpful to have a set place for all these sorted items, which is what straighten is all about. Following this guideline involves having a place for everything and keeping everything in its place. This further organizes your work area, and then if you needed a certain tool or the first aid kit, you and your teammates would know exactly which corner it’s in or what shelf it’s on. Together with sort you get the phrase, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

Shine: This guideline is there to keep your workplace clean and presentable, which also makes it safer. You can sweep up the miscellaneous debris on the floor, vacuum up the piles of wood shavings sitting in the corner, and wipe up any grease on the counter, and suddenly, your work area is clean and shiny! By regularly sweeping, vacuuming, and wiping up any spills, your workplace can always be this clean, and this eliminates some safety hazards, like slipping on a spill.

Standardize: Setting a standard for how things should look or how they should operate ensures that you and your team are operating at the best quality possible. Creating a list is a way of making sure that everything is checked against these standards.

Sustain: However, simply following these guidelines once isn’t going to be enough to keep your work area clean and safe forever– you need to regularly implement the 5S’s by always sorting parts, straightening your tools and other items, cleaning up your workplace, and standardizing everything. To help you do this, you should make a schedule to follow when using your checklists to ensure that nothing is forgotten. Additionally, setting a clean up time after each work day makes sure that you have enough time to clean up and that you clean up on a regular basis. It’s always a good guideline to leave the work area cleaner than when you arrived.

 These simple principles, when followed regularly, keep the work area clean, professional, safe, and accessible. And when you don’t have to spend time worrying about the status of your pit or other work area, you can put more time and effort towards your robot.

For more information, visit our 5S Principles Presentation that gives a great overview about the 5S’s in a Google slides format!