Preventing accidents and injury is critical to organizational success. Experts estimate as many as 90 percent of
incidents result from human error. Therefore, most accidents and injuries are preventable. At times, preventing
incidents may seem like an overwhelming task. How can an organization determine the root cause of accidents and
prevent their recurrence? Here are five simple steps to prevent accident and reduce injuries.
Evaluate which injuries are the most costly or pose the most potential hazard. For example, if incidents from slip
and falls injuries cost your organization the most or are most frequent and troubling, begin there. Alternatively,
if a near electrocution or other serious injury has occurred, begin there.
Set a realistic goal. Take the rifle approach to change, not the shotgun approach by focusing on one area of
change. For example, your goal may be to reduce fall frequency by ten percent and fall severity by ten percent.
Once you have evaluated why the falls are occurring, you’ll want to announce your goals, but until then, keep goals
Play detective. Hopefully your have loss runs detailed enough to determine a variety of factors. These may include:
- Where did the accident occur? You will want to determine not just the general location, for example a grocery outlet in Kansas City, Kansas, but also break out where in the store. Was it in the produce aisle? Was it when a customer entered the store and slipped on a mat?
- What time did the incident occur? This is especially important on workers’ compensation claims, because injuries often happen early in a worker’s shift and they are not adequately warmed up, or late in a shift when they are tired. Day of the week is important in workers’ compensation because Monday morning or “first day back” injuries may indicate a questionable injury.
- What happened? What was the mechanism of injury? For example, a customer who slips on grapes in produce is a very different incident from an employee who falls from a ladder. Environmental factors must be isolated to ensure they are addressed.
Make a plan. How can you reduce falls? You may learn from your analysis that falls on ice were prevalent during
January, February and March. Part of your risk management plan may involve dispatching extra employees to spread
deicers. Or, you may invest in better floor products with higher coefficient of friction. After you have formulated
your plan, ask your employees for help. Announce the goals and any incentives you can offer. It may be as simple as
a quarterly pizza party for the location that reduces losses the most or an award for the best safety
Now apply the plan. Remember that risk management is more an art than a science, so if one fix isn’t working, tweak
your plan. Try something else. Network with other industries who may share your problems to learn how they address