This paper discusses lean production objectives and design principles that can be shared by production management and safety management. It focuses on strategies to deal with variability, emphasizing two typical lean production concepts – autonomation and visual management – which can be used in safety management to detect variability. Moreover, considering the cognitive systems engineering perspective on safety as a basis, this paper discusses four guidelines for developing and monitoring procedures in the lean production approach: (a) take into account workers´ mental and physical capabilities; (b) stress workers involvement in procedures development and monitoring; (c) investigate reasons for successful performance rather than just causes of non-compliance with procedures; and (d) adopt a broader view on the meaning of deviations from procedures, which should not necessarily be seen as negative. It is proposed that similar analysis to the one carried out in this paper be undertaken to other lean production elements (e.g. how lean practices such as kaizen, supply chain management and total productive maintenance may benefit safety?). An inverse analysis is also necessary, since some elements that are usually included in safety management systems can be integrated to lean production practices.
Safety management, cognitive systems engineering, lean production, operations management