Welcome Guest! The IOSH forums are a free resource to both members and non-members. Login or register to use them

Postings made by forum users are personal opinions. IOSH is not responsible for the content or accuracy of any of the information contained in forum postings. Please carefully consider any advice you receive.

Notification

Icon
Error

Options
Go to last post Go to first unread
hoosier  
#1 Posted : 08 July 2019 15:30:51(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hoosier

Hi Guys

The recent release of the provisional HSE fatality figures shows another rise to 147 deaths 2018/19. It is timely to state that on average 24,000 people have been killed or seriously injured at work every year, over the past 32 years. At the same time, less serious injuries have reduced by 66%. The only improvement intiatives that seem to have made a difference are Safety Culture and CSR. Members may like to follow the link and read the evidence https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1ZL5c3IVV9c~d7

Edited by user 08 July 2019 15:32:35(UTC)  | Reason: left out a word

peter gotch  
#2 Posted : 13 July 2019 11:47:58(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Hoosier

Surprised no one has replied.

Lots of studies about the plateauing of Serious Injuries and Fatalities including one by BST in 2012 which looked a some six multinationals across various sectors. 

Concluded that only about 20% of minor injury accidents are precursors of an SIF.

What we also tend to overlook is that the lost time resulting from occupational ill health continues to massively exceed that from accidents at work.

hoosier  
#3 Posted : 17 July 2019 14:10:59(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hoosier

Hi Peter. I am too. I thought at the very least it would spark some debate, but clearly not. Perhaps the membership do not see it as a problem in their company (i.e. they do not experience any incidents), thus there is not a problem across the UK. Who knows.  I think there was an attempt to discuss this issue in 2014 via www.shponline.co.uk and the IOSH forums, but again the issue did not attract any attention. Such a shame, as most people get into safety and stay in it as a career because they want to prevent deaths and maimings. C'est la vie. 

achrn  
#4 Posted : 17 July 2019 15:20:27(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
achrn

Originally Posted by: hoosier Go to Quoted Post

Hi Peter. I am too. I thought at the very least it would spark some debate, but clearly not.

What debate were you expecting?  Did you think someone was going to argue that killing people is a good thing, or that the rate is too low?

I don't see anything to debate in your initial posting - what did you say that you think was contentious and merits debate?  A statement of facts does not stimulate debate.

thanks 1 user thanked achrn for this useful post.
webstar on 18/07/2019(UTC)
Roundtuit  
#5 Posted : 17 July 2019 15:51:09(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Given the link does not function (it has been truncated) bit hard to be on the same page for contemplation

Adding functioning hyperlinks is the fifth block of icons on the top row - symbol that looks like a chain

fairlieg  
#6 Posted : 18 July 2019 10:03:29(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
fairlieg

Originally Posted by: peter gotch Go to Quoted Post

Concluded that only about 20% of minor injury accidents are precursors of an SIF.

That is no surprise really.  Many “Safety professionals” have been perpetuating the mythical interpretation of Heinrichs Triangle in that reducing the number of near misses and low level incident the number of fatalities will reduce.  This is completely wrong, it’s a product of BBS (snake oil safety) consultants.  Stopping a finger getting cut by wearing gloves has no preventative effect on someone falling from height, electrocution, being crushed by heavy plant etc, etc

"Part of the reason for the plateau, may be Heinrich’s (1931) ubiquitous Injury Pyramid which asserts there is a predictive relationship between lesser and more severe injuries. This has led to an almost unquestioned truism in the world-wide safety profession that due to common causes (e.g. hazards, unsafe behaviours, and poor risk controls) the frequency and types of lesser injuries at the bottom of the pyramid, predict the frequency of SIFs at the top of the pyramid"

Have we all been pre occupied with prevention and created a (false) sense of security in thinking that prevention controls stop bad things happening?  Do we need to start preparing our organizations to be resilient?  We can't stop bad things happening but we can build capacity in the system so when things don’t go to plan the process can be recovered without anyone getting hurt.  Are we relying on the workers to STOP WORK as a control measure (I see this a lot)?

It would be interesting to see where these fatalities came from and what slogans the organizations that are involved use (safety first, zero harm, hearts and minds) with the exception of the 64% of the self employed in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing. 

The paper is interesting but not sure if there is the element of technology missing from some of the determination for reductions in fatalities, BBS gets credit for that.  Well designed and impliment BBS may well have had an effect but it's only got us so far

Time to do something different not more of the same but harder

Edited by user 18 July 2019 12:59:27(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

thanks 3 users thanked fairlieg for this useful post.
Dave5705 on 18/07/2019(UTC), webstar on 19/07/2019(UTC), A Kurdziel on 19/07/2019(UTC)
peter gotch  
#7 Posted : 18 July 2019 14:53:47(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

achrn

The studies also show that globally rates of Serious Injuries and Fatalities have tended to plateau whilst rates of less severe injury accidents continue to fall (generally relatively consistently over 50+ years).

Depends on global location and sector as to where the starting point has been, and rates of decreasing trends in relatively minor injury accidents, but the picture is the same.

Nothing in the original posting suggested that Hoosier was not concerned about fatal and serious injury accidents.

One thing that Great Britain has done very well is count the number of days lost from accidents and the greater number of days lost arising from occupational ill health - ditto the relatively higher societal cost of occupational ill health compared with accidents at work.

However, even in GB the focus is still skewed towards accident prevention with less attention to workplace health risks. 

Ironically this is highlighted when HSE does occasional health risk blitzes. Invariably the subsequent press releases announce more enforcement being taken on safety than on health. This is partly a result of HSE rightly directing greater resources to smaller work sites where the safety risks are still poorly controlled - it's difficult not to e.g. serve a Prohibition Notice on a grossly defective scaffold even if a visit is supposed to be predominanly focused on the health risks.

Even if that same visit also results in an Improvement Notice requiring e.g. the risks associated with cutting stone, the message is that the PN is more serious than the IN. QED the safety risks have greater importance, even to the regulator than the health risks. Not the perception that is intended, but the message that results.

thanks 1 user thanked peter gotch for this useful post.
Dave5705 on 18/07/2019(UTC)
achrn  
#8 Posted : 19 July 2019 07:20:25(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
achrn

Originally Posted by: peter gotch Go to Quoted Post

Nothing in the original posting suggested that Hoosier was not concerned about fatal and serious injury accidents.

Eh?  I didn't say he was not.  Why do you imply I did?

Hoosier posted some statistics, then some days later posted that he was surprised they didn't trigger debate.  I asked him what debate he thought it was going to trigger.

If I posted "hey, the sun rose in the east today" I wouldn't be back two weeks later lambasting you lot for not having a debate about it.  A statement of facts does not stimulate debate.

hoosier  
#9 Posted : 19 July 2019 16:55:49(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hoosier

Well, it is good to see some discussion on this.

Roundtuit Although the link to the paper looks weird (truncated) it does appear to work OK 

ACHRN I thought the paper highlighting that serious injuries and fatalites have remained static for the past 32 years would be worrying to all UK safety professionals and might have sparked debate centered on why the serious Injury & fatality rate has not dropped. Is it solely down to the some of the safety science concepts not working? Could it be the execution of some concepts . e.g. the lean approach to everything, with BBS - Behavioural Safety being a prime example of throwing out the baby with the bathwater when the number of observations is down to one a month as a quota. Could it be that some Risk Controls are actually not that effective, or that many risk assssments are done by people in offices, not those who do the job. Could it be the training of safety professionals does not focus enough on serious injury and fatality reduction? Could it be that the latest 'flavour of the month' distracts our attentions and we start focusing on things that have nothing to do with injury prevention? 

I do not pretend to know the answers to such questions, but it seems to me that if the UK safety profession itself does not turn its attentions to eliminating/reducing SIFS then it will be another 30 years or so before others start asking why. In the meantime, a lot of people are going to be killed or maimed. 

fairlieg you ask some interesting questions and make some good points. My question to you would be how would you start to make an organisation more resilient or more adaptive to changing circumstances ot help mitigate against serious injuries & fatalities?

Peter, if as you say the focus in GB is still skewed towards accident prevention with less attention to workplace health risks, it is very ironic that the number of serious injuries & fatalities has remained static all these years. The paper showed what has exerted an impact, and highlighted that the our reliance on Heinrich's triangle and associated theories has been misplaced.  I strongly believe there is something fundamental that we as a profession are over-looking, but cannot put my finger on it - is it the theories, the application of those theories, or that we are spread too thin in terms of the disciplines were are expected to control and cannot do any of it true justice? 

Roundtuit  
#10 Posted : 19 July 2019 19:37:06(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Thanks - browser security parked me on the landing page rather than the opinion piece. Not sure opinion and evidence aka fact are the same thing
hoosier  
#11 Posted : 19 July 2019 19:43:17(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hoosier

Roundtuit. Opinion based on facts is a good thing though?

Dave5705  
#12 Posted : 20 July 2019 03:43:13(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Dave5705

I'm curious, I think I have misinterpreted the data. (Without doing any real research I hasten to add, it is the early hours and I am tired!) hasn't the population of the UK risen over the last 30 years? I thought mid 80's to now had seen an increase from 57 million to 67 million. People are working longer too. If the number of deaths has stayed constant but the population has risen, doesn't that mean the death or serious injury toll in real terms as a percentage has dropped or am I missing something?

Edited by user 20 July 2019 03:44:36(UTC)  | Reason: tryping error

hoosier  
#13 Posted : 20 July 2019 14:32:04(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hoosier

Dave5705 Thats a good point. Numbers were used instead of the Incident Rate, as HSE Incident Rates figures are not like for like before and after 2005. It seems HSE used different labour sources for working out the man hours. The government website (https://www.ons.gov.uk/) shows that the number of  retired people grew by 3% from 1975-2015 to almost 18% of the population, and is projected to grow even more as the baby boomers retire. Working age people (16-64 Yrs) was 61% of the population in 1975, and 60.9% in 2015, with an upward trend to 65% in 2005, since when it has dropped. So, not sure population figures account for the static nature of the serious injuries & fatalities, or can be viewed as a drop in percentage terms.

The graph in the paper does show there is some relationship to the Unemployment Rate. It seems the number of 3 & 7 day off work injuries rises and falls in concert with the UKs unemployment rate by about 17 percent (e.g. less people in a workplace means more work for those left behind, so lesser injuries could be down to fatigue, rushing, etc). However it seems the number of serious injuries & fatalites fall when the Unemployment Rate goes up,  and go up when Unemployment goes down (e.g. more people in the workplace, presumably means more orders, productivity, etc, which means more unexpected changes, unexpected maintenance, etc, which leads to more serious injuries or fatalities). 

peter gotch  
#14 Posted : 20 July 2019 15:13:59(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Various global stats overcome some of the issues by looking at injury rates per X hours worked (where X may vary according to different methods of counting).

As regards the lack of focus on Occupational Health risks, many of the outcomes will not be recorded using standard methodologies as the impacts are more often than not chronic conditions, that are not picked up by counting days off work - often the effects are not identified until someone has changed job or even retired (sometimes early).

It's so much easier to react (and sometime over-react) when there's some broken bones or blood that is plain to see.

So easy for today's SAFETY professionals to give little regard to occupational health risks, when it will be for people (mostly in other disciplines) in the future to pick up the pieces. Those other people include tax payers.

Also difficult to convincingly determine that someone's cancer or other chronic illness has been predominantly caused by their work, rather than non-occupational causes. [There are limited exceptions to this "rule"]

Dave5705  
#15 Posted : 21 July 2019 08:24:53(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Dave5705

I agree that fluctuations in the age demographic of course will influence the overall figure,  but I believe ( I may be wrong) that the birthrate is still increasing faster than the retirement rate and I don't think the changes in the percentage of working-age people mitigate the true picture. If the percentage (of working-age people) has gone down since 2005 by say 5% but the working population has gone up by 10%, and the number of SIF's has remained the same, then in real terms it's going up (isn't it? Oh I'm losing the will to live, count me in that figure will you!)

Interesting for me though is the culture we live in. The general public seems to accept that a loss of life or a life-changing accident (someone else's, somewhere else) is just how it is. This sort of "Oh it's awful, but what did he expect, he took a silly risk and paid the price?" attitude amazes me, and I think a lot of it is down the indoctrination of employees in the industrial past of this country. The third estate was led (or forced) to believe that working to produce profit for someone else's financial gain was a gift bestowed, and as such the risks associated with it were passed to the worker for being given such a gift of work, almost like having a misadventure in the pursuit of excitement of happiness. Ironic when it takes no thought at all to realise the risks taken are only ever going to benefit the employer, not the worker.

I think a seachange in attitudes by the govt, media et al in reporting all deaths and major injuries to a wider public (just like a knife crime or medical mistake) would change the attitude of the public and the working population. But it's not as sexy or Farsebook worthy as a good ' this man is a surgeon who made a mistake so let's hang him out in public because he drives a better car than me (after all, the countless lives he's saved before this are now forgotten in our need for a good stoning)'.  

If someone is fatally injured either because they were not aware of the hazards through training or experience, or poor maintenance, or were rushing, under pressure, the task was just too risky, or some other management failure, then that to me is the biggest crime of all because the motivation for ignoring the risks to the worker is always the same: the company's financial benefit. Just money. It wasn't (mostly) a life and death situation (perhaps unlike the surgeon). It was pure greed for success, and usually not the success of the worker. Yet those crimes (against humanity) are often not reported barring a few words in a local press report or industry-specific journal.

Look at those figures again... 24,000 needless, pointless deaths or serious lifechanging injuries every year. In any other context, can you imagine those not being reported to a wider audience? Public awareness must be a way forward. The major news story of the day is often about some 'celeb' most of us over 40 have never heard of getting dumped by some other 'celeb' on some sandy island where he has 'suffered for his art' by going without his moisturiser for five days poor soul, and it gets 10 minutes of discussion by three 'experts'. On the same day, a worker's family lose a member to an accident when a poorly erected ladder slips and gets three lines in the Nowhere Evening Standard. Give me strength.

If every ladder had a notice on it saying "if you are not sure, don't climb this, you may die and leave your family penniless and fatherless" we might have less WAH deaths.

Peter is right too, to raise the issue of occupational health being an even bigger problem, and a lot of that is down to entropy; as a population, we often don't learn from history as we should. Again, it's putting things into the public domain, something we don't seem very good at.

​​​​​​​
achrn  
#16 Posted : 22 July 2019 10:39:42(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
achrn

Originally Posted by: Dave5705 Go to Quoted Post
Ironic when it takes no thought at all to realise the risks taken are only ever going to benefit the employer, not the worker.

Not so.  Some shortcuts are taken by employees either not for the benefit of the employer or not for anyone's benefit.  Are you honestly claiming that no worker ever has ever cut corners just because they didn't want to do something, none has ever done something stupid?  Overstating your case by suggesting that all worker injuries are entirely the fault of management who only ever make decisions to increase profit does not help your argument, especially when you are trying to engage management in that discussion.  The trope that anyone in 'management' is an evil money-grubbing parasite with no concern for the poor downtrodden good labourer that's just trying to scrape a living doing an honest days work, is not a helpful approach to the discussion.  It's also not true, in my experience.

Originally Posted by: Dave5705 Go to Quoted Post

Look at those figures again... 24,000 needless, pointless deaths or serious lifechanging injuries every year. In any other context, can you imagine those not being reported to a wider audience?

Yes.  Our road traffic fatalities and injuries are higher than the at-work figures (about ten times as many fatalities).  There's no widespread public outrage at those either.  Those needless pointless deaths aren't in the headlines.

I could conclude from the paper (which I note is an opinion piece, not a study or academic paper) that it's a demonstration that Heinrich's triangle (or rather, the normal naive interpretation) is not true.  So the 'H&S' industry was wrong?  Does that mean management is right to treat the 'professional' advice of H&S practitioners with some scepticism?

You could also interpret figure 1 as saying that a certain level of fatalities are inevitable - no matter how much you try, no matter how many laws you pass or initiatives you invent, the serious and fatal accidents happen at about the same rate.  Is that the message you want management to take away?

Edited by user 22 July 2019 14:17:58(UTC)  | Reason: spelling

hoosier  
#17 Posted : 22 July 2019 14:44:54(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hoosier

Well, Dave5705 I have some sympathy with the view that workers do get hurt while doing things for the benefit of their company's, but also with ACHRN who is aware of people who, despite everything provided for them, still take short-cuts and get hurt. I think the pertinent point is how to get the main stream media (MSM) interested in reporting the statistics. It is telling, that twice a year (provisional release and official confirmation) the HSE fatality stats are reported & commented on by the MSM. The HSE does not help by just focusing on the fatalities, and its selective approach to presenting the data. It never appears to highlight the number of major specified injuries. Thus, an opportunity to present the scale of the problem is missed. 

ACHRNs other comments are also interesting. First, lets make it clear, the paper is an opinion piece based on facts (data & academic research), but he is right. The paper does call into question the underlying philosophies of Heinrich's triangle/pyramid. So the 'H&S' industry has definitely got some of it wrong over the years.  Does that mean management is right to treat the 'professional' advice of H&S practitioners with some scepticism? Absolutely, YES!!! There are many, many 'snake oil' salesmen in the SHE profession. The IOSH membership is no exception (think Workplace stress and Mental Health First-Aid training for a recent example, with its estimated £8 billion per annum costs - according to one of todays SHP articles - which is a figure pulled out of nowhere based on stress survey guesstimates ).  Until we SHOW we actually do know what we are about, by actually reducing incidents, injuries & fatalities, management have every right to question everything we do and the claims we make. Equally, all members of the SHE profession should be challenging many of the claims made by some of our peers, especially if it is based on surveys, which unfortunately does not appear to be a common occurence.We should all be asking "Where is the real evidence?" and "Show me the proof, don't just tell me stuff, back it up".

If we also accept ACHRNs potetential conclusion that a certain level of serious injuries & fatalties are inevitable, then we might as well all pack up and go home, or find a different career.

Dave5705  
#18 Posted : 23 July 2019 07:51:14(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Dave5705

Sorry to both (and all), I obviously wrote that in a way which could be misconstrued. The main point I was trying to make is that we (as a society) enable (by continuing to buy them) the MSM to report all sorts of sensationalised claptrap which gets in the way of the public being informed on serious issues, and our governing and overseeing bodies are either happy to let them or are unwilling or unable to do anything about it. 

What is the main jibe thrown at H&S moves when they are implemented? "Here we go again, interfering. Haven't they got anything better to do?". IMHO that attitude comes partly, maybe even mainly, from failing to understand why the measures are being taken, and partly by making disproportionate recommendations and implementing disproportionate controls (Warning: Danger of falling coffee cups!) which just feeds the press the fodder they need.

Overwhelmingly, the intention of the H&S person is to do good, save lives, reduce injuries, but sometimes it is a poorly judged attempt to observe compliance (that's why I favour a risk-based approach.) It is rarely if ever to reduce productivity or make a job harder, though sometimes it does make the job more difficult (like working in obstructive PPE) and the workforce often resist and go on to do something inadvisable, maybe reverting to previous practice because it was easier. In that example, the person has their reason for doing the thing. It may not be a sensible reason, but it is the driving force for what they did and that was my other point. Surely a big part of our job is to get over the message that it is in the workers best interest to follow the control measures, and finding the motivation is the key to that. That's the hard sell.

"Ironic when it takes no thought at all to realise the risks taken are only ever going to benefit the employer, not the worker. - me"

"Some shortcuts are taken by employees either not for the benefit of the employer or not for anyone's benefit - Achrn" 

You are right to correct me, I worded that badly. I meant if it goes well and no-one is hurt, then the employer benefits through increased productivity, and the employee often stays on the right side of the boss. (it is important to stress here that I was considering that portion of accidents which are preventable, I accept there are always going to be some workers who will consistently do the wrong thing no matter how hard we try to stop them, but are they in the right job in that case, and is that a management failure?

True, the results of the shortcut if it goes badly are not to anyone's benefit, but the motivation, the reason for not following the control measure is often to make the job easier or quicker or more pleasant for the worker. When it goes well that may or may not benefit the worker depending on how well they are managed but we all know the cry of commerce: quicker, faster, cheaper, more profit. So the employer directly benefits (granted possibly alongside the employee). We mustn't confuse the intended benefit with the outcome, they can and often are completely different in my view.

"Are you honestly claiming that no worker ever has ever cut corners just because they didn't want to do something, none has ever done something stupid?  Overstating your case by suggesting that all worker injuries are entirely the fault of management who only ever make decisions to increase profit does not help your argument, especially when you are trying to engage management in that discussion. Achrn"

I did not say that. I said: "If someone is fatally injured either because they were not aware of the hazards through training or experience, or poor maintenance, or were rushing, under pressure, the task was just too risky, or some other management failure, then that to me is the biggest crime of all because the motivation for ignoring the risks to the worker is always the same: the company's financial benefit." That is true, in those cases.

" Our road traffic fatalities and injuries are higher than the at-work figures (about ten times as many fatalities).  There's no widespread public outrage at those either.  Those needless pointless deaths aren't in the headlines.- Achrn" My point exactly. And domestic abuse and others. We don't even get public safety information films anymore. What is the govt doing about it and why are we not up in arms about it?  If it were gun crime we'd be having a civil war. Sorry if I was unclear.

"I could conclude from the paper (which I note is an opinion piece, not a study or academic paper) that it's a demonstration that Heinrich's triangle (or rather, the normal naive interpretation) is not true.  So the 'H&S' industry was wrong?  Does that mean management is right to treat the 'professional' advice of H&S practitioners with some scepticism? - Achrn" Yes! I agree wholeheartedly. I once did a critical analysis of Heinrich's triangle and came to the same conclusion. I don't believe in it, but I don't think I argued differently did I?

"It is telling, that twice a year (provisional release and official confirmation) the HSE fatality stats are reported & commented on by the MSM. The HSE does not help by just focusing on the fatalities and its selective approach to presenting the data. It never appears to highlight the number of major specified injuries. Thus, an opportunity to present the scale of the problem is missed.- hoosier" - True, but can I add I was trying to make the point (ineffectively) that stats are not sexy to the general population, stories are. Maybe if more reporting went on about the accidents and how they affected the person they would have more impact. Most don't get reported beyond a local rag.

"If we also accept ACHRNs potential conclusion that a certain level of serious injuries & fatalities is inevitable, then we might as well all pack up and go home, or find a different career. - hoosier" I don't agree that a certain level is inevitable, not at all. I do however think that there are certain irresponsible individuals that are in the wrong positions and it is only a matter of time before they get hurt through their own actions regardless of how much we try to coach them, and those persons should be removed for their own protection. Ultimately that is a management failing, but only if an incident does not remove them first!

Sorry if I made the wrong impression.

Edited by user 23 July 2019 07:54:37(UTC)  | Reason: lost formatting

Users browsing this topic
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.