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Advantage of Incorporating Lean Six Sigma in EHS Programs

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Lean Six Sigma in EHS

Advantage of Incorporating Lean Six Sigma in EHS Programs

As more companies struggle to balance profits with environmental responsibility, they are often forced to look for ways to improve their Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Programs. Implementing Lean Six Sigma in EHS Programs is a proven step that can help you achieve these goals.

In this era of globalization, you have to make sure that EHS Programs are effective and meet all of the requirements of the international community. Organizations have to be innovative, agile, and nimble to remain relevant in the changing environment.

To achieve this, many are turning to Lean Six Sigma methodologies to help them create a better work culture, improve processes, enhance efficiencies, and ensure customer satisfaction.

LSS can improve your EHS Programs in a way that it benefits the environment, workers and the public.

A new study from the University of Cambridge shows that even small improvements in energy and water use can have significant effects on the environment and save money. This article describes how to successfully incorporate Lean Six Sigma in EHS Programs.  

How can Lean Six Sigma Benefit EHS Programs

Lean Six Sigma is a quality improvement methodology based on the Toyota Production System (TPS). According to Wikipedia, TPS focuses on streamlining and optimizing processes, thereby reducing waste and improving output. Lean Six Sigma has been adopted as a quality improvement methodology by many organizations worldwide and is used for process improvement from manufacturing to services.

Lean Six Sigma in EHS management can help develop a better system that can meet the needs of the organization while caring for the environment. LSS improves the quality of products and services and reduces the environmental impacts.

If you are trying to reduce the amount of energy or other resources used by your company, you can use LSS to analyze the different factors and see how they can be improved.

You can also use LSS to find ways to cut down on the number of products or the amount of materials that are used to produce your products or services.

The Advantages of Incorporating Lean Six Sigma in EHS Programs

The EHS Industry has used LSS with great success. Many EHS professionals have turned to the process when they were looking to optimize their EHS Programs and improve their operations.

Based on an article by Balaji, G., et al. entitled “Lean Six Sigma for Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Managers” (See Elixir Human Res. Mgmt. 75 (2014) 27892-27897), EHS managers need to coordinate Lean Six Sigma in environmental safety activities mainly for the following reasons:

  1. EHS Team involvement in Lean implementation can proactively identify and eliminate environmental wastes.
  2. Proactive identification and elimination of environmental wastes might subsequently reduce the need for non-value-added activities such as regulatory compliance management and reduce the investment in pollution control devices, waste/effluent treatment plants etc.
  3. EHS managers should assist LSS implementation by anticipating and addressing environmental constraints such as the need to obtain and renew permits, and by identifying environment-friendly process alternatives.
  4. Organization can achieve competitive advantage by providing customers with environment-friendly products or services with less environmental impacts.
  5. Occupational Safety can be guaranteed by improving the work environment for employees.

How to Organize Your EHS Program

An EHS Program has to be based on risk assessment and management. A successful EHS Program will not only help improve safety and reduce risks and environmental impacts but also increase the organization’s productivity.

Hence, it is imperative to understand the importance of identifying your organization’s top priorities, goals, objectives, and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) before you start developing your EHS Plan.

Specifically, you can adhere to the following EHS – Lean Six Sigma Cycle (See Elixir Human Res. Mgmt. 75 (2014) 27892-27897):

  1. Identifying EHS issues and Objectives
  2. Performing Value Stream Mapping
  3. Following Kaizen
  4. Incorporating 6S (5S+ Safety)
  5. Implementing EHS and Lean Six Sigma strategies
  • Begin the Dialogue
  • Cross-Train Lean and EHS Leaders
  • Test and Pilot Lean and EHS Integration Techniques
  • Scale-Up Lean and Environment Integration

Lean Six Sigma helps improve your EHS. It is a green approach to improving your EHS. This means that your organization can focus on reducing its environmental impact and also improve your work safety and health and consequently your organization’s productivity.


In conclusion, incorporating Lean Six Sigma in EHS Programs has compelling benefits. Environmental health and safety professionals can take advantage of the continuous improvement culture fostered by LSS to improve environmental results and deliver greater business value.

There are a number of successful models for integrating Lean Six Sigma in EHS Programs. These include processes that organizations have linked Lean to environmental efforts at facilities, as well as partnerships between Lean and environmental technical assistance providers.

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