Thursday, November 1, 2012

Are You Ready for Some . . . New Concepts & Tools in Preventing Serious Injuries & Fatalities?

This week’s Fatality Prevention Forum featured on update on the progress of Mercer ORC’s Fatality and Serious Injury Prevention task force. Presenters included Steve Newell and Dee Woodhull, Mercer ORC HSE Networks; Ray Comingore and Glenn Murray, Exxon Mobil; and David Jacobi, Kimberly Clark.

One slide during the presentation featured this insightful quote from Albert Einstein: “We can’t solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” It speaks to several pillars of safety that, according to the task force, may be myths, particularly when it comes to preventing serious injuries:
  1. Mistaken belief in Heinrich’s triangle that focuses on the bottom (recordable/lost-time incidents) takes care of top (serious injuries/fatalities). 
  2. Misuse of OSHA data as the primary metric for driving and assessing safety performance. 
  3. Overemphasis on history-based probability estimates when determining likelihood in conducting risk assessments that relate to high-gravity hazards. 
  4. Failure to effectively argue against the mistaken belief that higher-level controls are generally cost prohibitive. 
  5. Incorrect assumption that most injuries are caused by unsafe acts (fueled and reinforced by flawed incident investigations). 
So, how can SH&E professionals overcome these myths? The group is developing a new risk model that creates a separate track for addressing serious hazards. The group is careful to note that this new model doesn’t require what currently works. Instead, the new model can integrated into ongoing SH&E strategies. Look for more details on that tomorrow.

Several years in the making, the group plans to have a selection of tools based on the model and related information available by Jan. 1, 2013, at