The Relationship Between Productivity and Safety

At Faith Technologies Incorporated (FTI) and within each of our divisions, we pride ourselves on being industry leaders in job-site safety as well as productivity. These two topics are not always thought of as being related. In fact, one might assume that focusing on increasing productivity might result in a decrease in safety. While this may be true if you attempt to increase productivity by cutting corners or taking shortcuts, our approach to increasing productivity is focused on proper planning, efficient communication and effective coordination. This approach has taught us that we can achieve positive results in both safety and productivity.

Our number one core value is an Uncompromised Focus on Keeping People Safe. One of the ways we do this is by dissecting every incident or near miss to gain a better understanding of what could have been done to prevent the incident from happening, and then developing and implementing measures to prevent the issue in the future. Through this post-incident investigation process, we have learned some interesting insights over the past several years, one of them being that safety and productivity are directly related.

Productivity is often thought of as achieving a certain level of output given a level of input. At FTI, we break down and categorize our output into three areas: primary time, secondary time and waste. Primary time is best thought of as what the customer pays for; these are essential tasks, procedures, etc., that drive customer value. Secondary time includes necessary tasks, procedures, etc., that while required, do not drive value to the customer. Lastly waste, the worst of all productivity evils on a job site, is defined as unnecessary items that create no value whatsoever; having to perform re-work due to errors is an example.

Over the past couple of years, approximately 60% of our safety incidents have occurred during secondary or waste-time activities. In other words, we are safer when we are focused on driving value to our customers. Why is this? Often these value-creating activities receive more focus and attention when conducting planning and pre-task analysis. Knowing this, it is important that we not underestimate the risks associated with our secondary activities such as material handling, pre-task setup and demobilization activities.

At FTI, we strive daily to maximize primary time, reduce secondary time and eliminate ALL waste. We accomplish this through detailed planning and effective coordination with both internal and external stakeholders, enabling us to achieve industry-leading primary time of 69%, compared to the industry average of 42%. Through effective planning, we can reduce the number of times material is relocated on job sites, utilize Excellerate to maximize the opportunities to manufacture assemblies offsite and ensure that the safest, most productive tools are available for our teams in the field. The result of this planning and coordination is that both safety and productivity improve.

What are some measures you take to ensure the safest, most productive working conditions for your teams?