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SIF exposures higher among utilities workers: study

October 23, 2018

Oxnard, CA — Workers in the utilities industry are at an increased risk of serious injuries and fatalities (also called SIFs), according to a recent study from safety consulting firm DEKRA Insight.

Researchers analyzed 1,060 recordable incidents across 11 organizations in electric, gas and water utilities. They found that workers in utilities had a SIF exposure rate of 32 percent, compared with 25 percent for all industry workers.

Among utilities examined, water had the highest SIF exposure rate, at 42 percent, followed by electric (32 percent) and gas (29 percent). The study also showed that motor vehicle incidents (30 percent) and line-of-fire or struck-by incidents (28 percent) were responsible for most SIF exposures.

“The rate of on-the-job SIF is alarmingly high and affects all industries – not just the utilities sector,” DEKRA Insight Vice President Don Martin said in a press release. “The bottom line is there are steps organizations can and should be taking to reduce SIF rates, and identifying and understanding the risk factors is step one.”

Martin offered other SIF-prevention guidelines in the release:

  • Know the organization’s SIF precursors, defined as high-risk situations in which management controls are absent, ineffective or not complied with, and which result in a serious or fatal injury.
  • Integrate interventions into existing processes, such as implementing safety rules, training and incident handling systems.

The study was published online July 17.