by | Safety |

When people are faced with additional tasks, changes in routine and stretched resources, mistakes can happen.

For instance, some of my customers have spikes in losses in the summer months, for both auto and workers’ compensation.  I have worked with them individually to identify the reasons for this through loss analysis.  In general, the higher frequency for these accounts is tied to vacation schedules, more demanding work-loads and heavier traffic.  For example, when an employee is on vacation, someone else is covering a task or route they are less familiar with, increasing the potential for an accident or injury.  The work of a vacationing employee may be split among several employees, leading to longer work days and fatigue.  And, in the case of commercial auto accounts, higher traffic volumes in summertime can be a factor in their auto loss experience.

As a result of identifying the above trends, these companies have worked in various ways to address vulnerabilities to loss during the summer months.  Examples of what these companies have done include better briefing of employees who are covering an additional task or route; route safety analysis with results visible to drivers and dispatch; safety awareness campaigns; adjustments to compensation and break times so employees avoid rushing; increased planning and involvement of the safety committee; and changes in material handling aids.

Use Loss and Incident Analysis to Help Prevent Future Accidents

Loss and incident analysis is a fundamental, and often underutilized, component of a safety program.  To set and reach safety goals and provide appropriate safety activity, it is critical to know what is happening, involving whom, and when.  The loss analysis will vary by company, industry and line of coverage, but the following can help you target your safety efforts:

  • Record incidents as well as accidents in a timely manner, using a central source.
  • Have someone accountable for reviewing trends and sharing it in appropriate ways with management, safety committees, and employees.
  • Analyze the data using categories appropriate to your business.  These may include:
    •  Department
    • Month
    • Day of Week
    • Time of Day
    • Duration of Employment
    • Type of injury of accident (such as fall, struck by, caught in for employee injuries, or rear end, struck other vehicle, etc. for auto)
    • Type of equipment
    • Body part affected
    • Business Volume
    • Whether it is that employee’s normal job
    • Weather
    • Lighting
    • Location
  • Use the data to identify safety challenges, and set goals and activities accordingly.  This may include feedback to a specific department, information to use when purchasing equipment or supplies, planning safety meetings, or providing job safety analysis.
  • Get to the WHY’s of your trends.
  • Adjust your work environment in ways which are realistic for your company and reduce the newly identified potential for injury.

I encourage you to use incident and accident analysis to identify your loss trends, or even seasonal spikes.  It doesn’t have to be laborious, and can be as simple as a spreadsheet.   As you begin your analysis, you will likely find categories and factors to consider specific to your company.  The benefit can be fewer injuries and accidents, less disruption of business activities, fewer dollars spent recovering from losses, and likely a more streamlined and efficient operation.

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