Hazardous Waste License Renewal Kaizen Event

Summary

Impact Statement: 
Washington County Department of Public Health and Environment improved the process of renewing annual hazardous waste licenses to over 500 hazardous waste generators. Approximately 75% of renewals contained one or more defects which slows the process, consumes unnecessary time by the inspectors and reduces their time available for outreach and technical assistance. The team used QI to reduce handoffs and corresponding waits; decrease client process confusion; eliminate multiple invoices; and decrease paperwork. The team utilized a Kaizen event to understand the current process using swim lane mapping; identified and prioritized issues; performed root cause analysis on the issues; and defined the future process. The team exceeded their goal of decreasing the time by 50%, going from 16 weeks down to 6 weeks.
Summary: 

Washington County, Minnesota, has operated a commercial hazardous waste regulation program since 1985 and is mandated by state statute to regulate and enforce state and local hazardous waste rules. The regulations are designed to protect public health and the environment and to focus on preventing hazardous waste releases or exposure. Businesses in Washington County that generate hazardous waste and meet the definition of a generator are licensed by the county and are required to renew their licenses annually.

The Washington County Department of Public Health and Environment's environmental protection team implements and monitors the hazardous waste regulation program. The team processes more than 500 hazardous waste generator license renewals annually. Approximately 75% contain one or more defects in the form of inaccurate or incomplete information requiring follow-up ranging from a phone call to site visits and extensive paperwork review.

The team used a Kaizen event to understand the current process, identify and eliminate waste, and make improvements. The goals of the project were to decrease the number of defective renewal applications by 50%; decrease the amount of staff time spent on follow-up; engage hazardous waste generators in the process; and increase available staff time for inspections, generator outreach, and technical assistance.

Through the event, the team discovered that the licensing process was complex, included too many handoffs and corresponding waits, and was confusing to generators. The future state process that was developed reduced the number of tasks by more than 50% and reduced the number of waits by 78%. The new process results in significant time savings and ensures greater accountability and compliance with regulations.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 
Washington County Department of Public Health and Environment
Citation: 

Eichman , A. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Hazardous Waste License Renewal Kaizen Event . Thu, 11/16/2017 - 14:47. Available at https://www.phqix.org/content/hazardous-waste-license-renewal-kaizen-event. Accessed May 27, 2018.

Submission Status: 
Completed
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Comments

cgizzi's picture
Submitted by cgizzi on

Thank you for this helpful submission. I will definitely share it with our hazardous waste team. I can't wait to hear what happens after full implementation of the future state.

Cindan Gizzi
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Dept.
cgizzi@tpchd.org

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Submitted by QIangeloni on

The effect of Kaizen sounds amazing, but my question is who does the implementation of the changes they agreed at the kaizen event? how long does it take? what is the recommended timeframe to accomplish the change?
I love the posterboard! it says it all in one piece of paper - thanks for sharing!
Magaly Angeloni
RI Department of Health
magaly.angeloni@health.ri.gov

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Magali Angeloni, DrPH, MBA
Rhode Island Department of Health's Academic Center Director
magali.angeloni@health.ri.gov

eich0117's picture
Submitted by eich0117 on

Thank you for your comment! The Kaizen team does the work of implementing the agreed upon changes. The action plan that the team leves the event with is broken down into 3, 6, and 9 month activities for implementation. This project is scheduled to be fully implemented by the end of this year.

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Alex Elizabeth

Grace Gorenflo's picture
Submitted by Grace Gorenflo on

You accomplished a great deal in just 2 days! Do you anticipate replicating any of the improvements in other divisions, i.e., are there any basic changes you made that can be easily adapted and adopted elsewhere? Congratulations on exceeding your goal so quickly!

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eich0117's picture
Submitted by eich0117 on

Hi Grace,

We are in the beginning stages of making this process electronic. As we move forward and pilot the new system we will consider applying certain aspects to other programs such as our Food, Beverage and Lodging Program.

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Alex Elizabeth

Submitted by QIangeloni on

Do you have a template or something you use to design the Workplan at the end of the Kaizen event? If you do, can you share it with us? I can develop one but why to reinvent the wheel? :)
thanks,
Magaly

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Magali Angeloni, DrPH, MBA
Rhode Island Department of Health's Academic Center Director
magali.angeloni@health.ri.gov

Submitted by Torney Smith on

Thank you for sharing your experience which we will use as an excellent example of QI in Environmental Public Health as we do internal training. Nicely presented!

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Grace Gorenflo's picture
Submitted by Grace Gorenflo on

Hi Alex, The new video reminds me of what a fantastic example this is of QI -- Kudos!

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Submitted by cstegall on

Thanks for sharing your methods, we are doing a QI project and using swim lanes for the first time so YOUR VIDEO will be the star at our next meeting to stress how useful this tool can be.  I think sometimes knowing others have had success with a tool is an encouragement.

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Carolyn Stegall, REHS

eich0117's picture
Submitted by eich0117 on

Thank you Carolyn, it is a great tool! I hope you have success with it! 

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Alex Elizabeth

Submitted by Ahart13 on

Hi Alex,

Do you have a template design of the data collection efforts for your project that you could share with me?  Just the subject headings would suffice? If you could aslo share the work plan template for your Kaizen event as you did previoulsy that would help as well possibly?

Thanks,

Alex Hart-Smith

alexandh@health.ok,gov

ahart13@cox.net

 

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