The Twenty Foot Rule

Those within 20 Feet of the problem will give you the best solution, if you give them the K.E.Y.S.

History of The Twenty Foot Process and Acknowledgements

I am unable to pin point the origin of The Twenty Foot Process. It has evolved over the last 15 years and will continue to evolve because it is based upon two-way communications between those within 20 feet of problems and the leaders of organizations that provide the K.E.Y.S and practice the three R's. During my career I have come across a number of special organizations that practice The Twenty Foot Process on a daily basis. While they do not call it The Twenty Foot Process, in fact many have no name for what they do, they practice the principles covered in this presentation.

There have been certain milestones in the development of the process I would like to acknowledge.

I first learned of The Twenty Foot Rule during a discussion in Corpus Christi, Texas. After teaching ergonomics classes to supervisors and employees all day at a manufacturing company the companies Safety Director and I were discussing how well the employees had picked up on the basic fundamentals of ergonomics. During the class and exercises the employees had already started coming up practical ideas to improve their work stations. He shared with me the twenty foot rule and commented that during his career it had worked every time, if management would just listen to the employees.

I must thank the Cafeteria Managers at LoJoya ISD in South, Texas for working with me to translate many insurance and safety related concepts and terms into language that was more easily understood by front line supervisors and workers and encouraged participation.

The first major roll out of The Twenty Foot Process Workshop (it wasn't even named yet) was at Mission Independent School District following the Alton bus accident in which 17 children lost their lives. Working with the district we provided the employees the Knowledge, Expectations, Support and Feedback to improve safety performance district wide, which has been sustained.

If there was ever a blessing in disguise in the evolution of the workshop it was while working with The Harris County Hospital District and Dolores Rodriquez, Risk Manager. We had scheduled the workshop at LBJ Hospital. At the time the workshop was two hours long. Dolores informed me she had scheduled the class to start every hour, on the hour and to be sure to leave ten minutes between classes. Dolores responded to my protest that the class could not be done stating, "Do you know how hard it is to free up staff for training, you will do the class in fifty minutes, eight times today." By the end of the day I learned a very humbling lesson. I was more in love with hearing my voice than the class.

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