Using Analytics to Minimize Serious Injuries and Fatalities

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In this special guest feature, Dag Yemenu, Executive Vice President of Products at ISN, discusses the rise of data analytics in contractor management and safety. Dag is responsible for leading the strategy and execution aspects of the company’s products. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA from Oklahoma State University. Dag serves on the Analytics Corporate Advisory Board and the MBA Advisory Board at the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University, and is a board member at the Care Partnership Project based in the DFW area.

The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics annual report on fatal workplace accidents shows that there were 1,008 construction deaths last year in the private sector, compared with 971 in 2017, while the industry’s fatal accident rate held even. With no indication that the number of employee injuries and fatalities in construction is expected to go down this year and heading into 2021, employers are exploring all options to better understand what can be done to protect their workers. Even more importantly, over 20% of the victims of fatal incidents were contracted workers. With the stream of contracted and temporary workers ebbing and flowing across construction projects, companies need to implement modern solutions to slow the rate of fatal accidents on work sites and protect contracted and full-time employees alike through innovative, modern tools and improved training.

Using Data to Combat SIFs on Worksites

Transitioning to a digital contractor management platform can help companies gather relevant data more effectively. Then, through the use of analytics companies can use that data to better understand the potential causes of serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs) in the workplace and use those learnings to improve workplace practices and procedures to better protect employees and contractors.

When it comes to understanding injuries and fatalities, looking for patterns and trends is a crucial step. Organizations need to examine and understand the precursors associated with all  incidents — that’s where data and analytics are crucial to unveiling underlying patterns. In many industries, like construction or manufacturing, a primary cause of SIFs can be the result of events such as contact with machinery or other equipment impacting the lower and upper extremities. With data and further analysis, companies can pinpoint specific activities or equipment that are putting their employees in harm’s way and attempt to mitigate the problem through a data-driven approach.

Increasing  rates of SIFs can correspond to adverse loss of human capital, damage to workplace reputation and significant legal ramifications. Reducing SIFs is crucial to the bottom line and vital to maintaining a safe working environment for all stakeholders who enter a company’s facilities or worksites. Conversations around risk management and safety benchmarking are elevating to the C-suite because if a company is not meeting safety performance benchmarks, their overall image and reputation will be on the line.

Role of Data Analytics in Improving Safety Standards

The use of analytics tools to improve workplace safety is becoming an essential addition to the tech stack for any industry dealing with the threat of serious injuries or fatalities. With more companies making the switch to digital employee and contractor management platforms, the field of analytics has gained traction from a risk management perspective for preventative measures. With more data available, risk management professionals are able to perform trending and descriptive analytics and then create predictive models needed to prevent future SIFs from happening.

The majority of construction and heavy manufacturing work is being done by contractors rather than full time employees, so companies are turning to analytics to inform safety improvements. Typically, data is gathered from observational audits and incident management systems to assess historical safety performance data. Not only does this improve safety on a worksite, but allows contractors to evaluate safety data before agreeing to work with a company.

To get started with historical safety analytics, industry benchmarking and predictive modeling, companies need to ensure their data is coming from a reliable source. Outdated paper and Excel models can work for small operations, but large organizations should be using reliable data sources and  purpose-built contractor management platforms to take full advantage of the data at hand. Taking this step will require financial and time investment from the C-suite and board members, but prioritizing safety will be nothing but good for business — improving profitability, employee/contractor attraction and retention and minimizing resources devoted to liability and SIF-related legal matters.

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