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Rapid Action Team Results

Eliminating Injuries with Lean Six Sigma and Rapid Action

Lean Six Sigma
In less than 60 days, a team of unionized employees at a paper mill were empowered with a simplified Lean Six Sigma team process to reduce hand-laceration injuries to zero, earning the plant $20,000 in cost-avoidance from saved lost workdays and a safer working environment.


The largest mill for a major paper manufacturer was experiencing an unacceptable increase in the rate of hand laceration injuries, causing a spike in lost workdays and worker compensation costs.

Team Engagement Strategy

Assemble a team of cross-shift union employees led by the plant safety manager and supported by a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (for data analysis) to attack the problem using Rapid Action, a team engagement toolkit for accelerating results.

Rapid Action Project Charter

How can we reduce the occurrence of hand lacerations (employees being injured from cutting accidents) across all shifts in order to improve the total case injury rate reported for the mill while reducing days lost to injury.

Sample of Solutions Implemented

  1. Presented a Black Belt briefing on existing data related to laceration injuries (including frequency, location and potential cause) to the team.
  2. Developed a simple questionnaire and surveyed employees on perceived causes of laceration injuries.
  3. Conducted a best practices review of laceration-prevention methods through internet research and surveys of other mills.
  4. Developed standard work procedures for handling cutting tools, removed worn cutting tools, and replenished inventory with cut-resistant gloves.
  5. Developed and conducted a special safety briefing for all employees on safe use of cutting tools and laceration injury prevention.

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Rapid Action's powerful toolkit has helped hundreds of organizations achieve measurable results in less than 60 days while getting their team members engaged in long-term improvements. Download a Rapid Action Project Planner and see where you could be in 60 days!
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