Joint Commission Project Aims to Reduce Employee Slips, Trips, and Falls

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. — The 2015 issue of the International Journal of Six Sigma and Competitive Advantage includes an article about the results of a Joint Commission project that successfully reduced the average number of monthly falls of Joint Commission field staff by 64.8{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} and has sustained the results for four years.

The article, “Applying Lean Six Sigma Tools to Reduce the Rate of Slips, Trips and Falls for Joint Commission Field Staff,” was written by Andrius Kubilius, project director for database management, Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation, the Joint Commission; Keith Winfrey, associate director of survey technology, Division of Information Technology, the Joint Commission; Carrie Mayer, Master Black Belt, the Joint Commission; Gregory Johnson, associate director of employee benefits, Department of Human Resources, the Joint Commission; and Teena Wilson, outreach director, Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare.

“The success of this project reflects the commitment of staff across multiple divisions of the Joint Commission,” said Kubilius. “With strong teamwork and Robust Process Improvement tools, we were able to keep the field-staff falls rate low.”

The authors present how the Lean Six Sigma DMAIC methodology and change-management tools were used to reduce the rate of slips, trips, and falls for Joint Commission field staff who travel frequently and visit healthcare organizations across the U.S. The data sources included workers’ compensation claims data and an online survey administered to field staff who reported slips, trips, and falls.

Multiple risk factors associated with the field staff consist of environmental factors and individual behaviors. Targeted solutions included seasonal e-mails to staff to raise awareness of wearing the proper footwear and changing weather conditions, as well as an informational pamphlet about the risks associated with walking-surface conditions, carrying work-related or personal items, and type of luggage used.

At the start of the project, two years of data showed the incidence of workplace slips and trips that resulted in falls for field staff accounted for 66{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of the company’s workers’ compensation claims and 51{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of all falls-related claims were made by field staff. By implementing the interventions, the average monthly rate of field-staff falls was successfully reduced by 64.8{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} during the post-intervention period.