How to Fix Human Error

human-errorComputers and machines have done amazing things in the manufacturing industry. They not only help to streamline processes, but also prevent a lot of mistakes and ensure things get done much more quickly. Even with all these advancements, however, there is still a great need for employees to take care of a lot of the work in any facility. For the most part, these individuals do a great job keeping the work flowing well, but occasionally there are human errors that occur.

It will never be possible to completely eliminate all human error from a workplace, however, it is important to work toward that goal anyway. Finding ways to minimize human error, and catch the errors that do occur as quickly as possible is very important for any facility. The following concepts are used in many factories and manufacturing plants around the world to help fix the problem of human error.

Catching Errors Early

When an error does occur it often ends up causing more problems along the line, until it is caught. Facilities should work hard to put processes in place to catch any type of human error as soon as it happens, so the process can be halted until it is fixed. If the error is something minor, it will only take a moment to fix or remove the problem. For larger problems, it is best to take care of the issue right away so it doesn’t continue on unchecked.

To catch these errors facilities can rely on mechanical processes to check on things like the measurements of parts or any other abnormalities that they can detect. It is also possible to have other employees looking over the work that people do to ensure problems are caught as quickly as possible. Human inspectors are a great way to catch and fix errors right away.


Proper Training

Training employees properly will go a long way toward helping to eliminate errors in the facility. In many cases, people make mistakes because they didn’t realize that they were doing something wrong. Training people to perform certain tasks in the right way will help to avoid many problems in any facility. It is important to ensure that a facility is not just providing a one-time training, however. Ongoing training is necessary to ensure problems don’t creep into the process.

Finding the Root Cause

root-causeThis is perhaps the most important of the tips on this list. When human errors occur, many people are tempted to just fix the problem and move on as quickly as possible. While sometimes that is necessary, it doesn’t actually solve the problem permanently. Instead, take a little extra time to identify why something went wrong.

In many cases it will be possible to identify a root cause for the error that occurred, and then take steps to keep it from happening in the future. This might be something like an employee was not shown the proper technique for doing the job, in which case they could be trained properly in order to prevent the problem from occurring again. There are, of course, many different types of problems, and the more of them you can trace back to a root cause, the easier it will be to eliminate issues.

Working Together

It is very important for management to remember that mistakes will happen. In the vast majority of cases, people aren’t intentionally causing problems or making mistakes, so punishment is not normally necessary. Instead, work with the employee who made the mistake to try to help find out why it happened. Employees who are worried about getting written up, or losing their job, will experience much more stress, which can lead to more problems.

When you work with the employees to find out why something went wrong, they will be more likely to trust you, and perform their job better in the future.

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Antonio Ferraro

On behalf of Creative Safety Supply based in Portland, OR, I strive to provide helpful information to create safer and more efficient industrial work environments. My knowledge base focuses primarily on practices such as 5S, Six Sigma, Kaizen, and the Lean mindset. I believe in being proactive and that for positive change to happen, we must be willing to be transparent and actively seek out areas in need of improvement. An organized, safe, and well-planned work space leads to increased productivity, quality products and happier workplace. Connect with Antonio on Google+