The 5S 4th of July – Tips for a Safe and Lean Independence Day

Sort, Set-in-Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain

Like many process improvement enthusiasts, we at üttana love to extend our workplace knowhow to our everyday lives. With the 4th of July weekend just around the corner, we thought we’d share some tips for how to apply Lean principles to your festivities for a safe and efficient Independence Day. The 5S methodology is a primary component of a Lean organization. It stands for “Sort, Set-in-Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain.” There are several variations including 2S and 6S, with the additional 6th S standing for “Safety.” We’re going to cover the basic 5, but keep in mind that all of these steps contribute to safety, which should be the first priority of any 5S 4th of July.


The first step of 5S is to clear the area of all unnecessary items. Your guests probably wont appreciate tripping over a skateboard on the way in, and a clear sidewalk is ideal for small daytime fireworks (Assuming they are allowed in your neighborhood). It will also make it easier to find the essentials, like lighters, hotdogs and beer (We don’t recommend mixing fireworks and beer though).


Also known as “Straighten.” This step involves taking the items you need and putting them where they need to be. Here’s a no-brainer: Keep your lighter fluid near the barbecue, and keep both of these far away from your fireworks (Seriously, really far away). Another no-brainer: Keep fireworks out of the reach of small children.


This S is sometimes referred to as “Sweep.” It means keeping the area clean. Cleaning up wrappers and paper plates is not just a matter of presentability, it is also a matter of safety. Eliminating clutter means eliminating fire hazards and pests. It also makes it easier to keep things sorted and set-in-order.


Everyone needs to know the rules. This doesn’t require a big speech or lecture (that would probably annoy your guests). Just be sure to clearly mark where everything is supposed to go, and make sure there are plenty of trash bins for food waste, wrappers, and boxes.


Make 5S an Independence Day tradition. Your standards will keep getting better every year. And please, don’t think of it as work. It’s about making sure everyone has a good time. A 5S 4th of July has better food, better fireworks, and safe environment for everyone.

July 3, 2015

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