Untangling a Can of Worms

PinPoint Guest Blog – by Ron Bohnlein, Error Prevention Training Institute (EPTI)



I Thought You Knew What You Were Doing!

Three employees were assigned to install a new machine and connect it to the existing electrical system. It was imperative that the wiring be connected correctly so that the sensitive and expensive machine would not be damaged by a short circuit.

The company’s safety plan called for a technician to connect the wiring, while a supervisor and another individual observed to ensure everything was done correctly. The team discovered that the electrical hub into which they are to connect to the machine was a tangled mess of wires and cables—a “can of worms.”

The technician thought to himself, “What a can of worms. I’m sure glad the supervisor knows how this should be done and will correct me if I’m doing it wrong”. The supervisor was thinking, “What a can of worms, I’m glad the technician knows what he’s doing because I have no idea how it should be wired”. The other observer also had no idea how the machine should be connected, and since the technician and the supervisor seemed to know what they were doing, wasn’t really paying attention to the operation.

The installation resulted in an expensive and time-consuming short circuit, but fortunately no one was injured. While our clients have found that Error Prevention Training typically reduces errors by around 80%, it only works if all employees have received the training, and that training has been reinforced through regular reminders and short refresher segments.

The PINPOINT Error Prevention Difference

The employees on this task could have used the Error Prevention tools on the PINPOINT app to lead them through an AESOP mini-huddle, looking for challenges in the Assignment, Equipment, Obstacles, and Personnel, and assessing the overall Situation. Through this discussion and examining the wiring hub, they would have realized that nobody on that team was prepared to do that installation even after scanning a bar code on the machine to open the wiring diagram and instructions. They could take a picture of the wiring which would be automatically uploaded to a database monitored by maintenance. The supervisor could then record a short description of the potential error and the steps they took to avoid it. The story would be stored on a database that is available for all employees in case another team faces a similar circumstance. Financial people could even use this information to compute the savings from using error prevention on the PINPOINT app.

How Will You Handle Your “Can of Worms?”

Expensive errors versus maximum effectiveness via Error Prevention Training deployed on the PINPOINT mobile platform—how will you handle your Cans of Worms?

View EPTI overview video.


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