Injuries in the healthcare field continue to be a challenge. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while injuries in this field have decreased from 2012 to 2015, the injury rate for hospitals is 1.49 times higher than the average for private industry. Nursing Assistants have the fourth-highest incidence rate (348.5 injuries per 10,000 full-time workers) in the United States. Hospitals also employ Food Preparation Workers, which have the tenth highest injury rate (290.8 injuries per 10,000 full-time workers), Janitors and Cleaners (excludes maids and housekeeping) are thirteenth on the list (277.4 injures per 10,000 full-time workers) and Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners are the sixteenth-highest injury rate (255.6 injuries per 10,000 full-time workers). In fact, out of the top forty jobs with the highest injury rates, hospitals employ workers in sixteen job classifications on the list. (BLS 2016) Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common injury type in the healthcare industry. In 2015, the incidence rate of musculoskeletal disorders for Health care and social assistance in state government was 89.4 injuries per 10,000 full-time workers compared with the national average of only 32.2 injuries per 10,000 full-time workers. (BLS 2016)
To combat this injury problem, many healthcare organizations have refocused their efforts to decrease worker injuries and they have started to use Lean concepts to help improve processes across the organization. This paper will discuss how to utilize Lean concepts, specifically the A3, to identify the root causes of injuries caused by poor ergonomics and how to move implementation of the identified solutions forward.
Lean thinking and management was formally developed by the Toyota team of Kiichiro Toyoda, Taiichi Ohno, and others in the 1930s. They developed a system called the "Toyota Production System" which changed the focus of production from the individual parts of the production line (people and machines) to the flow of the product across the production line.