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How safe is your workplace?

This is the second in a series of posts looking at some of the different ways to measure safety performance and WorkCover performance. First we looked at WorkCover performance, now we take a look at safety.

In the previous post we saw that WorkCover performance basically comes down to two things: Are we having claims, and if so, how much are they costing.

Safety performance is a bit different. There are many ways of measuring the effectiveness of your safety program, the two most common being a measure of safety incidents and the number of injuries that have occurred.

The number of injuries that have occurred are often categorised in a few different ways:
    •  Lost Time Injury (LTI) – these are injuries that have resulted in a worker needing time off work
    •  Total Recordable Injury (TRI) – the include LTIs, but also injuries that don’t result in absence from work

LTIs and TRIs are fairly easy to understand, and it is straight forward to see if they are going up or down over time. However, they don’t necessarily provide a full business context. For example, a steady number of LTIs might be good in the context of a business that is rapidly growing, or bad in a business that is slowing down. This is why they are coupled with their frequency rate.

The LTI frequency rate (LTIFR) is a measure of the number of lost time injuries relative to the number of hours worked in the organisation. The calculation is number of LTIs divided by the total number of hours worked multiplied by 1,000,000.

The LTIFR puts the LTI in the context of the business situation. A benefit of the LTIFR is that it can be used to benchmark performance against industry figures. The Safe Work Australia website has a simple calculator that will calculate your LTIFR and compare it against your industry.

Obviously a count of injuries is one thing, but understanding what is happening needs much more than that. Statistics around the type of injuries that are occuring, where they are happening and who they are happening to are necessary if you want to understand what is happening at your wokrplace, and start to think of ways to improve. Eg, based on the data you might implement strategies to deal with manual handling problems, or manage mental health better.

Other statistics that can be useful include the number of incidents and near misses, how many people attended tool box meetings or other safety training, and safety audit results. And when all of this data can be cross referenced with other business data, such as rostering, production or sales data, you can start to get a strong picture of the risks in your workplace.

Of course, all of these things are measures of what has happened. Is there any way of knowing what is likely to happen in the future? Good question. We’ll look at ways of predicting the future next.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, get in touch.

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