Is there one leading indicator when it comes to predicting workplace injuries and preventing hazards from happening? An article by Griffin Schultz discuses a study that was performed by a team at Carnegie Mellon University on how the information that is obtained from safety inspections and observations can be used to improve safety and to predict future safety problems.
The study was conducted when safety-incident data was matched with the information from safety inspections and observations from several companies over a 4 year period. The team then put this matching information in to a high powered computer. After the computer had time to “learn” about the millions of incidents, observations and inspections it predicted safety incidents for the next 30 days. A new data set was then put in and tested for accuracy against the computers prediction. The computer was extremely accurate and could predict safety problems within an 80-97% accuracy rate!
Now what? Not every company has the resources to engage extremely advanced systems. The article suggests that basic data and reports can be utilized using programs like Microsoft Excel. These sorts of reports can answer questions such as:
-How many, how often, where?
-What actions are needed?
More advanced systems are needed in order to answer harder more detailed questions such as:
-Why is this happening?
-What if the trend continues?
-What will happen next?
-How do we achieve the best outcome?
Simply by performing regular safety inspections and observations can yield very important data and can give a company a good start on preventing future incidents. The article also suggests that getting employees (not specifically safety experts) involved in the inspections can help in catching everyday problems and can provide answers to safety problems.
While one single answer/safety indicator may not exist, it’s clear to see that the information derived from regular safety inspections and observations is extremely important and should not be ignored.
Schultz, Griffin. ”The Holy Grail of Safety: A Single, All-Encompasing Safety Leading Indicator.” www.ehstoday.com. February 6, 2014. February 21, 2014.
We have all read how the safety culture of a company is an extremely important component in employee safety. An excellent safety culture takes lots of time and the efforts of management and engaged employees. What happens when the group of people working together is temporary, not permanent? When long time periods of employee bonding and training can’t happen as the group is project based and may change in a few weeks or months? An article entitled “Shaping the Safety Culture of Project-Based Workforces” talks about some common assumptions that happen in a long living safety culture that must be changed in short term team of employees in order to create the most effective safety culture possible.
Working overtime can sometimes be a privilege and can sometimes be an inconvenience, but did you know that it can also increase the number of injuries that happen within a workplace? A study published by the Occupational and Environmental Medicine provides evidence that “working in jobs with overtime schedules is associated with a 61% higher injury hazard rate compared to jobs without overtime. Working at least 12 hours per day is associated with a 37% increased hazard rate and working at least 60 hours per week is associated with a 23% increased hazard rate.” The study was based on a 13 year observation period where 10,793 American individuals participated.
Can worker personality affect plant safety, productivity and quality? Yes it can, says a research company in Canada; despite extensive training, proper tools and a good safety program 90% of workplace safety accidents are caused by human error. A blog on ehsworks1.blogspot.com discusses how this company has found five personality traits that an individual can and should be tested on. If that individual’s score is within the “high risk” range they could possibly be a threat to their own safety and others safety in a work place environment. These five personality traits are: anxiousness, resistance, irritability, impulsiveness and distractibility.
What does your business have in common with large commercial nuclear power plants and military bases? According to Shane Bush, president of BushCo Inc, and a blog on ehsworks1.blogspot.com; a lot! Mr. Bush will be presenting information at the ASSE SeminarFest in January 2014 on how characteristics of high-reliability organizations (HROs) can be used and adopted by any company to help improve safety and productivity. The blog states a HRO is a company that has a very “high potential for significant unwanted outcomes but have had relatively few incidences in comparison to the amount of risk.” A small company can learn from these five principals these large companies employ.
As college football season is coming to a close and the Super Bowl is growing closer stadiums and arenas are being filled with thousands of excited fans on a weekly if not daily basis. Safety is extremely important and because of this many rules are set in place for spectators. Many items such as umbrellas, bags of any kind, containers, flags, aerosol cans, bottles, toys that can be thrown and alcohol are prohibited from entering stadiums. Gates may have staggered entry times in order to control the amount of patrons entering at a certain time and access to the field is generally prohibited. All of these specifications are put into place in order to create a safe and efficient stadium experience.
In a world of smart phones, phone watches, and constant extincting and emailing, distractions are ever present. Speaking from personal experience, my level of anxiety and distraction has increased significantly with the use of a smart phone and its continuous alerts from social media sources, data updates, text and emails. Distractions from technology can be dangerous if they happen in the wrong environment.
For years we have been hearing about how drugs used in the production of animals have damaging effects on humans. Organic products have become more and more in demand as consumers learn about what goes into the food they eat. On Wednesday, December 11 the FDA announced that it is going to ask pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily stop labeling drugs used to fight human infection as acceptable drugs to use on animals. The FDA is hoping that by eliminating certain antibiotics in animals the risk of humans developing antibiotic resistant infections will decrease. According to the CDC this is a growing problem as more than 23,000 people a year are dying from antibiotic resistant infections.