Health and Safety

The acronym EHS represents Environmental, Health and Safety.

Throughout the course of any project it is important to be aware of EHS risks and opportunities. Protect of the most important assets, workers, and yourself. When considering improvements and alterations it is critical to identify hazards and mitigate them. Using training, procedures, PPE, engineering controls, or designing the hazard out of the process, product, or service.

It is worth taking any amount of time to ensure the protection of those involved and the end users. It is easy to change a layout, install new equipment, but often new hazards are introduced and many are not visible and obvious.

Lean Manufacturing has no tolerance for waste nor sacrificing EHS risks.

The goal is process improvement without compromising EHS.

Many improvements will be made can introduce new hazards from as simple as a sharp corner to blocking a sprinkler head.

Carefully assess the job hazards and controls in and Six Sigma project.



Many EHS risks are not acutely known or shown, some of these risks take time to develop or become evident. Ergonomic awareness and training should be a part of every project manager's tool kit.

  • Avoid stagnant positions for workers
  • Reduce vibrations, noise, and annoying sounds (buzzers, horns)
  • Proper work posture support in chairs, floor mats, shoes.
  • Avoid twisting and turning of body and especially wrist
  • Adequate localized lighting and clarity
  • Shoulder height storage and movements in front of body
  • Avoid excess neck movements

Executing in the areas of EHS is a display of care and concern for people. These will translate to better morale, less fatigue, lower absenteeism, and better productivity. It can prevent injuries, unexpected downtime, and worker compensation costs.



Safety Metrics

Total Recordable Injury Rate (TRIR)

The TRIR is a commonly used lagging indicator that measures a companies Total Recordable Injury Rate and adjust for the number of hours a facility works. It does not matter how many employees there but is a function of the number of recordable injuries and the numbers to hours worked (usually including salary and hourly).

TRIR = (# of Recordable Injuries * 200,000) / # hours worked

The measure is taken over the same period time for the numerator and denominator. The lower the number is better, meaning that the company injury rate is lower.

For example:

If your company has 4 recordable injuries over three months and there were a total of 238,452 hours were worked then the TRIR is:

TRIR = (4*200,000) / 238,420 = 3.36

As the hours worked increase without any more recordables, the TRIR improves - goes down. Each state has average rates by specific industries and lines of work. Your company should have an NAICS code to help find these values to compare.

Lost Time Injury Rate (LTIR)

The LRIR is a commonly used lagging indicator that measures a companies Lost-Time Injury Rate and adjust for the number of hours a facility works. It does not matter how many employees there but is a function of the number of lost-time injuries and the numbers to hours worked (usually including salary and hourly).

LTIR = (# of Lost-Time Injuries * 200,000) / # hours worked

The measure is taken over the same period time for the numerator and denominator. The lower the number is better, meaning that the company injury rate is lower.

For example:

If your company has 2 lost-time injuries over one year and there were a total of 845,966 hours were worked in that year then the LTIR is:

LTIR = (2*200,000) / 845,966 = 0.47

As the hours worked increase without any more lost-time injuries, the LTIR improves - goes down. Each state has average rates by specific industries and lines of work. Your company should have an NAICS code to help find these values to compare.

NOTE:

If within the United States, your state may require posting of the OSHA 300 log each year in a highly visible location. The definitions of Recordable and Lost-Time injury should be found within your state government websites.




Risk Management

There are Six Sigma projects that focus on risk management. Actually many of the tools used by a Six Sigma project manager are used by Risk Managers such as flowcharts, check sheets, probability, and statistics.

A team working on a risk management project should:

  1. Identify loss exposures
  2. Analyze loss exposures
  3. Determine the appropriate techniques to treat the exposures
  4. Implement and monitor (control)


The process closely resembles the DMAIC and Shewhart PDCA cycle.

A team can look for opportunities to control the risk by:

  1. Risk Avoidance
  2. Loss Prevention
  3. Loss Reduction

Loss prevention can include ideas that reduce the frequency of the loss through methods such as training, labels, visual management, and safety poka-yokes. An Safety Engineer or EHS coordinator is helpful to include on this type of team.

Loss reduction can include ideas that reduce the severity of the loss after it occurs. These ideas include notification alarms, sprinklers, fire extinguishers, storing valuables offsite with two copies, EHS programs, emergency action programs, defibrillators, seat belts, and airbags.

All of these can contribute to savings in the eyes of the insurer. Your company risk manager should be aware and involved in these improvements and negotiate lower premiums.

Reducing risks is similar to reducing RPN on at the FMEA exercise of a DMAIC project. The team wants to target the input (x) with the highest RPN's and reduce the severity, occurrence, and improve the detection.

The variation is less and the output more predictable, both are exactly what an insurer prefers.





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