Hazardous Waste License Renewal Kaizen Event
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.
Eichman , A. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Hazardous Waste License Renewal Kaizen Event . Thu, 11/16/2017 - 14:47. Available at http://phqix.org/content/hazardous-waste-license-renewal-kaizen-event. Accessed July 13, 2020.
Background and Aim
Planning and Execution Details