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Dow Chemical studies motor vehicle accidents with “Six Sigma” methodology

Dow's Hydrocarbons and Energy business unit (HC&E) used a problem-solving methodology called "Six Sigma" to develop a sustainable program for reducing motor vehicle accidents, MVAs, throughout the business unit. Six Sigma uses the four-step process known as MAIC (Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) to significantly reduce defects in processes, products and/or services.

The study was conducted in 2002 and improvements and a control plan were put into place beginning January 2003. For 2001 and 2002, HC&E experienced 23 MVAs each year (46 total). In 2003 and 2004, HC&E experienced 32 total MVAs, 15 and 17, respectively, for a 30 percent reduction. This number exceeded the 20 percent reduction established as a project goal and placed the Dow HC&E business unit even closer to its 2005 goal of 50 percent fewer MVAs than it anticipated. Following this success, many of the training materials developed by the project team, such as a Vehicle Pre-Startup Checklist, have been adopted for use at other Dow businesses. OSHA reported this case study but noted that the views do not necessarily represent the official position or policy of the US Department of Labor.

For additional information on this and related topics, consult CCH Employment Safety & Health Guide .

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