Reduce Workplace Injuries With Predictive Analytics

Posted in News

While the notion of predictive analytics may seem like a topic for a dissertation of an MIT grad student, the reality is that predictive analytics is already a part of your life you just don't notice it. Today, Netflix determines what movies/shows you are likely to enjoy, eHarmony selects your ideal life mate, Healthcare organizations identify patients at risk of developing various diseases and credit card companies determine your propensity to file for bankruptcy. Predictive analytics is here and it is about to get more pervasive.

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Can Predictive Analytics Help Reduce Workplace Injuries?

Just as healthcare companies and banks use predictive analytics to identify risk, so can companies looking to identify the risk of injuries within their organizations. Predictive analytics is on the rise and should be a vital part of your safety program.

While some organizations have begun taking a proactive or predictive approach to injury prevention, many organizations still limit themselves by using reactive tactics. They rely on lagging indicators, that report after the fact rather than warn before an injury occurs. For example, lagging indicators could be the month-end reporting of how many injuries and what type of injury occurred. This type of reporting and analysis can describe what happened after the fact, but it cannot help prevent injuries.  

Using predictive models allow organizations to develop leading indicators that aide in identifying the likelihood of where and when the chance for the next injury will happen. These systems take disparate data from many sources and integrate them into a unified model. This unified model allows companies to identify trends and problem areas within the organization before incidents happen.

Making the switch from a reactive to a proactive prevention approach is a must for leaders who are serious about keeping their employees safe. This approach not only has a positive effect on employee morale, but also helps reduce costs. As the cost of injuries increases, addressing the financial impact is becoming a priority for forward thinking companies. Why? Because not doing so is expensive. According to OSHA, the average injury cost (direct and indirect costs) is about $100,000 - with the direct cost of a fatality more than $900,000.

With the increase in fines, new regulations, and increasing costs of injuries, it is imperative for organizations to invest in creating and maintaining a safer workplace. Taking a proactive approach to injury prevention will not only reduce your safety spend and insurance premiums, but more importantly, it will increase employee safety. Now is the time to invest in protecting the most important assets you have, your people.

What Should I Look for in a Predictive Analytics Workplace Safety System?

There are a number of services that claim to use predictive analytics to reduce workplace injuries. However, upon closer examination, most fall short of their claims. A true holistic solution combines sophisticated analytics with an intuitive user interface that provides simple-to-use, immediately actionable insights, before an injury occurs.  

Below are some questions you should ask when selecting a workplace safety predictive analtyics system.

1) Does the System Look at Objective or Subjective Data?

There are plenty of systems that provide electronic recordings of inspection data and other observations. The quality of this type of data is hard to ensure because it relies on an inspector's observation making it inherently subjective. A system that looks at objective data, can provide deeper insights. This type of data includes historical injury statistics, HR and other system data and environmental data from sensors and other inputs. By removing the subjectivity of observations, all employees and departments are measured against the same standard. This in turn makes the results more accurate across the entire organization.

2) Can the System Track Multiple Indicators?

Indicators, also known as tracking factors, are those attributes that an analytics system monitors.  Some systems can track only one indicator or may focus on just a handful of indicators. This does not provide the full picture as there can be multiple leading indicators that provide insight into potential injury risks. These indicators include historical and current employee data, behavioral factors, along with environmental information such as heat, gas, noise, etc. A system that can track multiple indicators has the advantage.

3) Is the System Easy to Use Throughout the Organization?

Being able to identify potential risks of injury is powerful, but it is useless if the system is difficult to use or navigate. The system should provide an intuitive interface that allows you to drill down to a specific location, office, or employee. It should use an easy-to-understand set of pointers or signals that identify where there is increased risk for injury throughout your organization.

4) Can the System be Tailored to Your Business or Industry?

To truly assess risk in your organization you need a system that can be customized to your industry, and also to the specific risks that lead to injuries within your company. Different industries may weigh risks or indicators differently depending on the type of work, hazards that are present, or the environment in which work is performed. In short, you do not want something that is "one size fits all." Instead, you need a system that can be customized to meet the intricacies of your company.

5) Can the System Detect Risk Down to the Employee Level?

Many systems provide an overall view or may be able to highlight elevated risk at the location level. While this information is helpful it does not contain sufficient detail. Being able to drill down to the employee level, and identify potential at-risk employees enables you to intervene before an incident happens.

6) Does the System Come with Extensive Support, Training and Guidance?

Implementing a predictive analytics system is a great first step in preventing injuries within your organization. But to create a holistic strategy you need to do more. The team you work with should not just have the technology expertise to effectively implement the system. They should also be able to provide industry expertise, human capital know-how and senior management experience.
They should help you develop and customize the solution to your needs while also providing intervention and training insights for when risk arises. It is not enough to just identify risk, you need to know how to intervene and have a plan to help those employees who may be at higher risk for injury. Combining the technology with proven intervention techniques creates a powerful and effective injury prevention program.

Reactive vs. Proactive Approach to Injury Prevention

The shift from reactive to proactive injury prevention is not an easy change, but it is a necessary one. As fines and the costs of injuries continue to rise it is important for organizations to invest in technology that can help them identify injuries and perform the proper interventions.

This technology should be easy to use, yet compile and aggregate objective data points, track multiple leading indicators and provide a holistic view of risk throughout the entire organization. It should also be customizable to specific job and industry risk factors and identify risk down to the employee level. Lastly, the team behind the technology should provide industry expertise and implement intervention and training strategies.

Arbill's Vantage Predictive Analytics, meets all of the criteria outlined above. This powerful system can help you prevent workplace injuries and reduce the associated costs.

Watch this video to learn more about Vantage or schedule a no obligation consultation to see the system in action.

Have a Safe Day!