How employers can help prevent SIFs: Campbell Institute releases third white paper in series

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Photo: The Campbell Institute

Itasca, IL — A new white paper from the Campbell Institute at the National Safety Council introduces two frameworks that support employer efforts to prevent serious injuries and fatalities, or SIFs, in the workplace: cumulative risk assessment and social network analysis.

The institute’s third in a series of reports on the emerging safety trend, Serious Injury and Fatality Prevention: Leading Indicators, Cumulative Risk and Safety Networks addresses programmatic elements organizations can use to design their prevention programs.

Researchers interviewed nine Campbell Institute member organizations to learn about their leading indicators and SIF prevention approaches. Questions covered data collection efforts and analysis strategies, leading indicators related to SIF prevention, leadership and employee engagement around SIF prevention, and challenges encountered.

The researchers found that as organizations mature along their safety journey, risk assessments must take a more sophisticated form. Single-hazard risk assessments are appropriate for some situations, but others may involve interactions between multiple hazards. The hazards should be assessed together to accurately measure the risk and determine whether the situation could result in a SIF.

Additionally, social network analysis is a long-standing, empirically founded framework that’s referenced among environmental, safety and health professionals but hasn’t been formally identified. However, elements from social network analysis can be used to measure and analyze leading indicators for SIF prevention. The advantage of a network approach is that it considers how people interact with each other rather than only how they interact with the EHS management system.

“Organizations must avoid complacency and approach safety and risk assessment as ongoing, evolving issues,” said Katherine Mendoza, director of the institute. “We know that strategic thinking and organizational culture are the most important indicators of successful SIF prevention, so if organizations think beyond their current solutions and seek opportunities to constructively communicate with one another regularly, we will save lives.”

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