Lean 6S; 5S + Safety


What is Lean 6S


Many companies will tell you that they implement  lean 6S; 6S being 5S plus the added step of safety.
5S is a methodical method to improve your housekeeping and standardize your processes making them more efficient and less stressful for your employees. 5S benefits are many, higher efficiencies, less stress, fewer accidents, higher levels of quality, fewer breakdowns and so on.
6S and 5S both work on the idea of preventing the wastes of Muda, Muri and Mura, especially concentrating on Muda or the seven wastes.


Steps of Lean 6S


Lean 6S Safety

6S; Lean 5S plus safety




The name 5S comes from the 5 Japanese words that make up the 5 stages of 5S, each one starting with the letter “S”. 6S has added the additional “S” of safety to the original 5. So the stages of 6S are;




  • 5S Seiri, or in English; Sort, Clearing, Classify.  In this stage we remove all clutter and unwanted items leaving only the tools, equipment, components, and machines that are required on a daily basis.
  • 5S Seiton, or in English; Straighten, Simplify, Set in order, Configure. This stage is where we organize all of the remaining items; using ergonomic principles to locate items where they minimize movement and reduce stress. We also ensure that items are clearly identified and have a clearly identified home – “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”
  • 5S Seiso, or in English; Sweep, shine, Scrub, Clean and Check. This is the cleaning and painting of the area to bring it to a “new” standard. The reason for this is not just to make the area look pretty but to ensure that things like leaks and other issues stand out against the otherwise clean area.
  • 5S Seiketsu, or in English; Standardize, stabilize, Conformity. During this phase of 6S we standardize the previous stages of the implementation by ensuring common color codes and ways of working.
  • 5S Shitsuke, or in English; Sustain, self discipline, custom and practice. This is where we try to make the process part of the culture of the company to ensure the ongoing implementation and improvement of this initiative.
  • The 6th “S”; Safety, we now concentrate on safety aspects of our initiative, reviewing every action and each area to ensure that we have not overlooked any potential hazards.


Lean 6S Video


Why Implement Safety in 6S


Safety is an integral part of each of the original 5S phases so why do we need to add it as an additional step? Well one reason is for the additional focus that it provides on safety issues, whilst safety should be considered within the previous steps, having it spelled out as an additional important step gives safety additional importance and focus.

This additional focus can ensure that we do not otherwise overlook potentially hazardous situations which may have escaped our initial look whilst in the grip of the excitement of implementing changes that have made our work place more efficient and easier to operate.


Benefits of Lean 6S


The main benefit of 6S over the benefits of 5S is that added focus on safety, used in areas with more hazardous processes it can help to reduce even further the risk of an incident. So 6S; 5S + safety is a good bet if you want to drive down the possibilities of any form of accident.


 Lean 6S PDF and PowerPoint Downloads

What is 6S – Download Lean 6S PDF free

6S – Free 6S Lean PowerPoint presentation


6S Resources


The following are 6S training materials and other items that may be of help in your 6S program implementation;



If you have any questions about lean 6S or 5S and safety or would just like to share some successful implementations; please leave your comments below.

15 comments for “Lean 6S; 5S + Safety

  1. May 29, 2012 at 5:10 am

    DEAR SIR i want 5s,6s safety board use in office

    • leanman
      May 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm

      Not quite sure exactly what it is you asking for, if you can leave some more details or use the contact link at the bottom of the page and I will try to help you.

  2. Pat
    February 17, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I am working diligently to develop Standardized Work for Team Leaders, Unit Managers, Plant Managers, Ect.

    I hoping to find some examples of this that I can use as a starting point. Is there anything out there?

  3. Scott Cohen
    February 27, 2014 at 2:32 am

    6S is a complete waste of time, money, and productivity. Only those who implemented this insanely stupid program are the ones who are making tons of money. What a great concept… Lat’s make it look like absolutely no work is being done. Brilliant!!!!!!

    Keeping a clean and organized work space is, in no question an advantage. But the 6S program is just plain STUPID! The same goes for the entire 6 Sigma Program as well.

    • leanman
      May 19, 2014 at 7:14 am

      Hi Scott

      I think that your comments are a little shortsighted; I have been within many companies that have implemented 5S and 6S and just because they are tidy it does not mean that no work is being done. In fact it is often quite the opposite, a well set up system using 6S principles will be far more efficient than one that does not use it. As to six sigma; the ideas are sound but too many people try to apply it where simpler approaches are more appropriate.

      • Alex Giarrante
        June 13, 2016 at 3:45 pm


  4. Aubrei
    October 27, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Are there any training sites online that would help an individual learn 6s?

  5. David
    November 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Hi Scott,

    Your reply sounds like you have had a bad experience with Lean and Six Sigma. I can honestly say that there are no better programs for making improvements in business than these 2 philosophies.


  6. Mark
    November 29, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    We have found out from Fukushima, that the 6th S, Safety, is the most important one- That’s the one that Japan neglected and we will be paying for this mistake for 10,000 years.

  7. Sivan
    April 25, 2015 at 6:43 am


  8. George
    February 10, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Hello, I like 6s System very much. Thank you stari!

  9. Student
    July 12, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Who knows when the 6th S was added to the 5S system? As in, when did 6S start to become popular instead of just 5S? Thank you!

    • maribel monteagudo
      July 31, 2017 at 4:57 am

      6s is forcing mo to remove my small rosary hanging beside my computer, what is your comment about this

      • leanman
        August 2, 2017 at 12:40 pm

        Hi Maribel,
        You will have to discuss that with the team that is implementing 6S as to their reasons. Without a full understanding of your workplace there is no way for me to be able to comment on whether it is justified.

  10. August 2, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Looking for a good 6S DVD or video.

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