Sickness Management Using Lean Six Sigma

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums General Forums Implementation Sickness Management Using Lean Six Sigma

This topic contains 8 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Charlie 11 months, 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
  • #55904

    Charlie Tindill

    I’m Green Belt trained but not very experienced. I’ve been looking at improving sickness absence in a Local Authority environment in one service area 500 FTEs high % of manual workers. I have the data, cost of sickness, type of sickness, days lost, carried out process mapping and made a significant improvements in process areas but not seen much change (at present) in the overall sickness levels. The rigger and discipline is in place after a number of training events. Do I now move into looking at the Policy or breaking down the long and short term for separate countermeasures.? Any advice would be welcomed.

    Charlie Tindill


    Robert Butler

    It sounds like you have done a lot of measuring and checking but one thing I don’t see listed is the official (and enforced) policy with respect to coming into work sick. The biggest drop I’ve ever seen in sick day reduction and overall reduction in lost time work was the one place where management REALLY did not want you coming in to work sick and made it a point to tell you/order you to go home if you were sick and coughing and sneezing all over the place. Has this issue been considered and is a pro-active approach with respect to no sick people allowed being taken?


    Charlie Tindill

    Robert, Thank you for your response, A policy is in place regarding coming into work whilst sick, however as you say, Is it really enforced especially around cold, flue symptoms,? I will have a look at this with my HR colleagues, thank you.

    My only observations from the data though is the high rate of sickness amongst front line workers is muscular sceleto and the office/ social service environment was stress related” I will go back and look at the data around short term time due the above you have raised. Thank you for your response.


    Charlie Tindill

    Art Bierschbach

    Hi Charlie — what did you find as root cause? I know leaders don’t like to hear it (may have to lead them to the answer gently), but absenteeism and turnover point to leadership issues. I don’t want to diagnose without seeing the organization, but certainly worth a look. Feel free to contact me if you would like to talk [ ].




    Hi Charlie,

    There are number of things to look at:

    1. Are the absenteeism related to one or few departments or across the departments. Did you collect data & check?
    2. Are there any seasonality to data? Absenteeism are generally high during Christmas & New Year, Feburary, Easter, End of Bank Holiday. Did you check that?
    3. What are the different types of sickness? Can the organisation help prevent them in future e.g. Better lighting, Chair etc. to providing flu jabs (if that is the most problematic issue. As cost of flu jabs will more than compensate the cost due to sickness).

    Hope I have given you few pointers to think about..



    I agree that all the data in the world will not help with this problem unless you can come to some root causes to attack.

    There can be a culture of absenteeism where people see others call off frequently and without good cause and it increases their own likelihood of calling off. Calling off becomes accepted and part of the culture. There is a balance between sick time that is needed to avoid spreading illness to a whole department, and sick time that is use it or lose it time.

    Is there a reward for unused sick time? Is there an ergonomics problem? Musculoskeletal issues point to overuse and ergonomics. Are these people getting flu shots? Do they have access to handwashing/sanitizer? There are many factors that can play a role, but sometimes it is simply that people are unhappy and stressed and that points to leadership.

    Best of luck with this.



    The questions others have posted are good places to start. Your charting is a critical component, but is only the first step. You must analyze the data to determine where to focus your investigation of root cause. It appears that you have physical strain on front line employees and “stress” related absenteeism in the office. (not sure who admits they are “out sick with stress”, but perhaps the data is real).
    I suggest first attacking the ergonomic structure for both sides. Poor industrial ergonomics can be critical and costly beyond absences. If you do not have a local expert, there are multiple consultants that can come in and help. Engage the employees as well. Many times they know exactly what they need to be more comfortable and productive.



    Thank you very much Nicole

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.