Safety professionals are frequently asked to do more with less. Lean operations are the new reality for many businesses. “5S + Safety” is applicable to all organization desiring high efficiency and waste reduction. Businesses that embrace 5S + Safety realize improved company image, increased employee morale, improved product quality and better time management. 5S relates to workplace design and forms a solid foundation upon which many facilities base their drive for continuous improvement. This methodology is equally applicable and successful in all industries helping to achieve high impact results.

When Calumet Specialty Products purchased the San Antonio Refinery in 2013, many operational and organizational changes were needed. At that time, several efforts to improve housekeeping at the refinery were made; however, short-term gains were quickly lost. This session will overview how 5S methodology benefited employees at an old refinery by organizing facilities for efficiency and effectiveness. This decision-making process stimulated standardization, which build employee understanding how to work efficiently. As a result, safety culture was improved by eliminating unsafe conditions and behaviors.

In January 2016, Calumet San Antonio Refinery fully launched a 5S + Safety program. The refinery was divided into 10 zones, and then employees audited one zone per week. Auditors evaluated each zone using an audit checklist by 5S category: sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain. Five inspection questions were asked per category and overall score was given with a maximum/perfect score of 25. The average baseline (1Q16) score across the refinery was 9.5 ± 3.1. The most recent average score was 15.2 ± 5.2 which represents a significant improvement only 10 months later.

After reflecting on the first year of implementation, 5S methodology has allowed us to make significant and sustained advances in refinery unit efficiency and effectiveness by identifying stored items, maintaining areas, and sustaining the new order. As a result of 5S implementation, organizational safety culture has improved by eliminating unsafe conditions and behaviors. After six month, the San Antonio Refinery 5S + Safety program was recognized by Calumet corporate leaders for demonstrating Operational Excellence and was promoted to all Calumet facilities.


Damon Shodrock, CSP