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6S Lean - Safety at the workplace

6s Lean - Increase safety and productivity at the workplace in 6 simple steps.

What is 6S Lean: 5S + safety?

The level of practical implementation of the 6S lean method is a reliable indicator of the existing potential. Lots of companies are starting making use of lean practices which means striving for maintaining a zero waste environment.

An enterprise can follow 3 different concepts such as Total quality management, 6 Sigma or 6S system. 6S (also known as 5S + safety) serves to increase, optimize and maintain productivity and safety in the workplace. It is based on the 5S methodology.

This simple but effective method creates a fundamentally structured work environment. In this way, you create the optimal conditions in your company for a focused workflow and a sustainable safety culture for your employees.

In this article the following topics are covered:

1. What does 6s lean mean?

2. Where does the 5s method come from?

3. What is the 6th “S”?

4. 3 Tips for implementing 6S

5. 6 advantages of the 6s method

6. How do digital technologies support the implementation of the 6S Lean method at your workplace?

7. Conclusion

Our tip:

Conduct this checklist easily and digitally via mobile app and save 50% of your inspection time. Try for free now

What does 6S Lean mean?

What do terms, such as Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke mean? These terms describe simple measures which help you to achieve minimalism and sustainability in the coordination of your company policy. Learn the exact definitions of the individual steps here:

  • Sort (Seiri) - Remove all items and materials not needed for the work.
  • Put in order (Seiton) - Organize all tools, equipment and other items by grouping them according to their function, labeling them and placing them in an accessible place.
  • Clean (Seiso) your workplace and make an effort to maintain an appropriate appearance by keeping preventive order. In this additional step, you analyze possible dangers in the workplace and determine preventive measures or controls. A digital safety checklist is particularly useful for this purpose.
  • Normalize (Seiketsu) - Establish workplace standards and carry out regular checks.
  • Sustain (Shitsuke) - Your goal at 6S Lean should be to standardize and maintain the method, with continuity making the process a "natural routine" over time.

Where does the 5s method come from?

For a deeper understanding and as proof of the effectiveness of this method, it is important to know the origins and background of this method: The 5s method is part of the Lean method and is therefore considered a continuous optimization process.

The principle was developed in the early 20th century by the Japanese Taiichi Ono, who significantly influenced the production philosophy of Toyota. What is innovative about the method is its minimalist and cyclical approach and the clear encouragement of employee participation. After all, employees are largely responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the method.

What is the 6th “S”?

The last S stands for Safety. The reason why this element was included is that exactly safety is crucial at the workplace. It has a direct influence on employee productivity, job satisfaction and the reliability of the work environment, in general. Therefore, it is considered that providing safety warnings and work guidelines at the point of necessity can have a huge impact on the work cycle.

For example, every company of any size must ensure they have an emergency fire exit and a fire extinguisher, first aid stations, and safety showers, etc. Also, it is important that the essential protection equipment is placed in an easily reachable area and ready for immediate usage. This means that 5s principles in warehouses are especially relevant .

3 tips for implementing 6S

6s Lean or 5s + safety is more than just cleaning up! This is about a consequent and continuous process improvement. Implementing 6s can result in several serious mistakes, such as using the method once or communicating incorrectly with your employees. Find out how to implement 6S Lean in manufacturing and other industries. The following three tips will help you to implement 6s in a step-by-step and meaningful way.

  1. Communicate & School - Ensure that all employees are introduced to the 6s method and made aware of its benefits. Involve employees in increasing productivity by incorporating their experiences with the method and suggestions for corrective measures into the company policy.
  2. Appoint a person in charge - As a cyclical improvement method, it is essential for the success of this method to carry it out regularly so that it becomes a routine process over time. For this purpose, it is beneficial to appoint a person in charge who also has an open ear for questions and impressions from employees.
  3. Control - The implementation of this regular procedure must, at least at the beginning, be done by a certain degree of control or self-control. It is important not to rebuke employees as chaotic, but to emphasize the effectiveness of this method, which is achieved through uniformity.

Advantages of the 6s method:

Here you will find the main advantages of implementing 6s Lean for your company in a nutshell:

  • Productivity increase in the entire company
  • Less reworking
  • More freedom of movement
  • Satisfied and motivated employees
  • A stable safety community within your company
  • Faster familiarization of new employees

Related app uses

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How do digital technologies support the implementation of the 6S method in your workplace?

Make your workplace a clean and safe place with the 6S method today! Start by downloading our free 5S and 6S audit templates from Lumiform.

Lumiform gives you the flexibility to perform any inspection you want - anytime, anywhere. Inspect construction sites and restaurants for food safety, perform temperature checks, safety briefings and more. Lumiform is the ideal mobile solution for audits and inspections in all industries.


  • 6s Lean (5S+ safety) creates a optimal working environment, resulting in a significant increase in productivity
  • Lean creates a safe, sustainable working environment through strong freedom of movement, motivated employees and reduced material consumption.
  • The 6s method is highly dependent on the cooperation of your employees and should therefore be well communicated.
  • 5S + Safety is not a "quick fix", i.e. a one-off corrective measure, but a continuous, cyclical optimization approach

Featured templates

6s Lean Audit Checklist Template

6s Lean Audit Checklist Template

Use this lean 6s audit checklist template to take a tour of your business using the lean 6 method. A report is then automatically generated. See template

6S Lean Manufacturing Walk Checklist

6S Lean Manufacturing Walk Checklist

Use 6S lean manufacturing walkthis template to implement the 6S method in your company and benefit from the method every day. See template

6S Safety Checklist

6S Safety Checklist

With this 6S safety checklist, you can identify hazards or potential risks. See template

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