It has been noticed that the easiest way to bring down accident rates in most organizations is to improve the organizations safety culture & climate. That is , safety becomes a way of life for every employee. The result of such culture improvement is very visible on a company's bottom line: reduction in costs of insurance, of lost production, of compensation, etc and a whole lot of overt and hidden costs.
Organizations would also reap tremendous benefits if a quality culture, call it lean or six sigma culture, is launched and implemented company wide. Not just selecting few members for six sigma training. Granted there is need to have a dedicated team or champions in form of sigma belts, but general employee training on six sigma and lean principles would even add more value to the organization's bottom line.
Better still, if this quality culture is married with safety culture.
Implementing short -term improvements in safety and quality do not last; what lasts is making the culture change to cut across the entire strata of the organization over its life cycle. The lesson from this proposal is for CEOs to make every employee to undergo basic lean training and culture change; i.e.making both safety & quality a way of life.
Top Management Involvement
Indeed, it is essential to the success of any organization or company's safety and health program that top management demonstrates a very strong interest and involvement as well as a serious long-term commitment to protect every stakeholder, whether they be employee, or customer from injury and illness on site. However, to achieve this level of commitment the application of Six Sigma must come into play.
Real commitment does not appear out of thin air.
Management commitment to safety will only occur when each manager or executive clearly understands the positive benefits derived from their collective effort. Comprehending their roles in achieving the benefits (outcome) will create a continued desire to maintain the organization's safety culture. Henceforth, managers will invest serious effort, time, and money into effective safety management by developing the programs, policies, plans, processes, and procedures defining a comprehensive program.
Six Sigma for Injury Reduction
As we have seen, Six Sigma is a powerful process and methodology for making our customers happy and increasing profits. If we look at this from an aspect of avoiding a risk, and thereby making our employees and managers happy, due to reduced loss, we can then equate a loss (Injury, crash etc) to a defect. We can Define the problem as employee injuries, more specifically repetitive strain injuries to the shoulder. We can identify the scope and identify specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time centered goals for our study of the injury producing operation. We can develop a measurement methodology such as the # of shoulder injuries per million parts. We can collect data from injury reports and easily collect the data. Drivers of variation may include someones resistant to report an injury.
Once we have established a definition of our problem from the voice of our employees, and established our ,measurement criteria we can now begin to analyze how our process is performing in comparison to our history, industry injury statistics, and also identify what the root cause of the problem is and may lead us to Shoulder injuries occur to employees operating unit X while producing item C whose weight variation is 4 x's higher than other operations performed.
Once we identify this we can begin to brainstorm ideas to reduce the risk from the operation, establish experiments to test our recommendations, report on results and make final recommendations to management on needed process changes to sustain our injury prevention results.
Once we have approval, our Financial champion can modify or approve budgets for needed equipment changes, supplier changes and costs that may be associated with employee training on the modified process needed to control the new process improvements.
Thereby making Six Sigma a valuable methodology in the reduction of injuries or Injuries per million opportunities