More than three million injuries occurred in the workplace in 2013 (This number is from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics and only includes the non-fatal injuries). The result is an average of slightly more than three injuries per 100 full-time workers.
While this is a serious number, it does represent a decline in workplace injuries.
Much of it is due to improved safety procedures, better equipment and enhanced awareness of the dangers that are present in a workplace.
As Big Data continues to grow and become easier to collect and manage, it can also be utilized to improve workplace safety.
Prediction is Key to Prevention
Workers compensation insurance and other companies are already utilizing Big Data to gain information about injuries.
It only makes sense that businesses that pay for these services also utilize the same information to prevent those injuries and reduce costs for insurance, lost time and loss of productivity.
By looking at previous injuries within the company as well as those in the same industry at other organizations, companies can make changes to prevent future occurrences.
What is some information that businesses can glean from Big Data? They can learn:
- Which tasks or machines result in the most injuries?
- How long a machine typically lasts before it needs replaced
- What job typically causes which injuries?
- The percentage of people employed in specific positions who are injured;
- And much more.
Analyzing is Essential
It is not enough to collect Big Data. It must be analyzed to determine how the company can benefit from the information.
For example, if a report shows that the majority injuries on a piece of equipment occur within the first 30 days of a new person being assigned, this would lead the company to believe that further training is necessary.
The next step is to determine what kind of training needs to happen and for how long.
While the data collected won’t provide all of the answers, it points in the right direction.
As the article, “Is Your Big Data Going to Waste” states, compiling large amounts of information isn’t enough. If you don’t know how to analyze it and take action from what you learn, nothing will change.
The Internet of Things
One of the biggest advances in technology to help businesses manage workplace injuries is The Internet of Things.
More devices, equipment and tools are being connected to the Internet, allowing even more data to be accumulated. This will enhance the task of preventing workplace injuries.
For example, companies can begin to see how long a worker is on a task before injuries occur. It might be determined that more stops are needed to allow anyone in that position to rest and prevent fatigue that results in injury.
As Big Data becomes more user-friendly, every business can benefit in the information it provides.
Those companies focused on improving workplace safety can learn how to prevent injuries and reduce costs while improving productivity and employee satisfaction.
In these circumstances, everybody wins.