Six Sigma Methodology Applied to Operational Safety Innovation

The link above takes one to a site with web video of the horrifying, near fatal accident on a Boston, Mass. subway track/platform during the second week in November 2009.  As a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt practitioner, and a US Air Force Security Police veteran, I began thinking whether any practices could be used to avert another such tragedy occurring anywhere in the US, or the world.  Next, I thought of the concepts of TRIZ, Poka Yoke and Kaizen.  Then I developed a mental Fishbone chart which brought me to an idea with many operationally practical uses.  Finally, I submitted my ideas to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and to other major, US metropolitan transit authorities.

The TRIZ concept states, essentially, that any challenge, question, process, etc. has already been resolved via another implemented process.  I submitted to the MBTA the idea of a “Station Emergency” switch/device that, in the Boston case, someone on the platform could activate to warn the train operator.  This application has practical Homeland Security use, too.  If a terrorist attack such as a bomb or toxic gas incident occurs the switch/device is activated to warn and prevent the operator from entering the affected station.  This will prevent a casualty increase from the next rider-filled train.  Simultaneously, the switch/device will activate warnings to summon first responders such as police and other emergency personnel.

Private and public entities should develop options their personnel can use to express ideas and concepts that will save money, or lives, via their input.  Other thoughts?


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