Lean Safety Gemba Walks: A Methodology for Workforce Engagement and Culture Change, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Lean Safety Gemba Walks

A Methodology for Workforce Engagement and Culture Change, 1st Edition

By Robert B. Hafey

Productivity Press

173 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781482258981
pub: 2014-11-24
Hardback: 9781138438149
pub: 2017-07-27
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429256912
pub: 2017-07-27
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A Lean Safety Gemba Walk is a walk through the work area (Gemba) that focuses on the continuous improvement of safety. When conducted in a respectful manner, by skilled facilitators, Safety Gemba Walks can have a dramatic long-lasting impact on the culture of a business.

Lean Safety Gemba Walks: A Methodology for Workforce Engagement and Culture Change is a follow-up to the author's bestselling book, Lean Safety, published in 2010. It is a natural progression from the philosophical overview provided by Lean Safety to the reality of the application of those principles in facilities around the world.

This book presents a collection of Lean Safety Gemba Walk case studies that are based on the author’s experiences over the last four years. As the stories unfold, readers are transported on a journey of discovery through the Gemba and begin to see safety differently just as those who physically participated.

Illustrating the importance of employee engagement and culture change, the book provides you with the tools to engage managers, employees, and hourly staff in the continuous improvement of safety. The concepts covered will allow you to empower employees to make a difference in their safety culture rather than simply complying with safety rules.


Employee safety is the ultimate responsibility of any leader. Lean provides the ultimate set of guiding principles for any leader. Hafey, in his second book on the combined topic, shows us how leaders can use safety to deploy Lean principles on the Gemba to supercharge the performance of any organization.

—Dan McDonnell, VP Integrated Supply Chain, Ingersoll Rand

The idea of recognizing safety risks as opportunities for Lean improvement is unique. By making a work activity safer we also make the work more productive. I think most Lean practitioners do the reverse - they look for waste in the production cycle, fix that, and then trust that the process improvement also makes the work safer. But having a worker-centric point of view makes the whole Lean improvement idea more personal and grounded in ethics, which makes sense to me.

—Mike, Mikelis Abuls, Executive Vice President & COO, CG Schmidt, Inc.

After decades of grappling with variability in Lean implementation results, along comes Lean Safety Gemba Walks and ties all the loose ends together into a coherent, practical and very powerful approach to the engagement of the hearts and minds of those employees who traditionally suffer the most injuries, the very same people who we want to ‘transform’ into efficient assets. Enough with management pushing transformation, bring on the employees pulling it. The question is whether management can keep up.

—Wayne Burton, Manufacturing Manager, Bricks East Coast, Boral Clay & Concrete

Table of Contents

The Common Objective—Impact the Culture by Building Trust

Compliance-Based Safety—Not Good Enough

Behavior-Based Safety versus Lean Safety

Living Injury-Free Every Day versus Living Painkiller-Free Every Day

A Safety Walk versus a Safety Gemba Walk

Product Flow

Material Handling Methods

Storage Containers

Plant Layout

Block Diagramming

Relationship Diagramming

Rules for Engagement

Case Studies

Metal Fabrication Operation, Ohio

Electrical Cabinet Assembly Operation, Indiana

Distribution Center, Nevada

Transformer Manufacturer: Power Partners, Inc., Athens, Georgia

Industrial Distributor, Pennsylvania

Mining and Metals: Metinvest, Donetsk, Ukraine

Food Plant, Australia

Chemical Plant: Nufarm Limited, Victoria, Australia

Lean Safety Workshop/Kaizen Event Feedback

Impressions—What impressed you the most?

What can you take away and apply in your workplace?

Learnings—Personal Learnings for me

Recreational Vehicle Plant, United States

Food Plant, United States

Sheet Metal Fabrication Plant: KSO Metalfab Inc., Streamwood, Illinois

Medical Device Component Plant: Specialty Silicone Fabricators, Paso Robles, California

Coiled Metal Processing Plant, Australia

Medical Products Plant, Australia

Heavy Machined Products Plant, United States

Custom Field Service Vehicle Plant: Stellar Industries, Inc., Garner, Iowa

Machining and Assembly Operation, Canada

Sheet Metal Products Plant, Canada

Beverage Can Operation, United Kingdom

Process Production Operation, Australia



About the Author

Robert B. Hafey, an operations and Lean professional, spent over 40 years working in manufacturing at U.S. Steel Corporation and Flexco. His first book, Lean Safety—Transforming Your Safety Culture with Lean Management, was the first to link the topics of Lean and safety. This positioned him to build a successful Lean consulting business—RBH Consulting LLC.

Mr. Hafey firmly believes in the email signature tagline he created, "You can continuously cope, or you can continuously improve—the choice is yours!" Hafey considers continuous improvement a creative endeavor and shares his passion for the topic wherever and whenever possible.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Workplace Culture
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Industrial Health & Safety