What do the Titanic sinking, the Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster, and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill all have in common?

In each case, there was data that showed that something might go wrong. However, mistakes, poor communication, and pressure from outside factors meant the warning signs weren’t picked up.

Unfortunately, there are often little pieces of information that get missed. While not all of them turn into horrible accidents, they can still prevent dangerous situations.

Therefore, collecting safety data is one thing, but what matters is how you make sense of it – this is where safety analytics comes in. So, how can you understand your safety data and take the right action from it?

In this article, we’ll talk about safety analytics and how it helps you prevent incidents. We’ll cover:

  • What is Safety Analytics?
  • How Data Saves Lives
  • Key Metrics You Should Have
  • Common Data Hurdles and How to Overcome Them
  • How Software Can Help With Safety Analytics

First, let’s get a better understanding of safety analytics and how it fits into safety management.

What is Safety Analytics in EHS?

Safety analytics is about being smart when you look at information on how safe or risky a workplace is. It involves collecting, understanding, and figuring out what the data is telling us.

When you turn information into useful insights with safety analytics, it helps organizations find and fix problems before they happen.

For instance, if your data shows an upward trend in observations relating to blocked fire exits, you can do something about it. This might involve putting up clearer signs or giving extra training to employees.

Taking action based on your data shows that you care about your employees’ well-being. You can even go a step further and directly ask them what they think needs to improve, like through a frontline worker survey. This contributes to a strong safety culture, making it not just about avoiding problems but also about making the workplace better and safer for everyone.

How Data Saves Lives

Often, EHS professionals work in high-risk industries like construction or oil and gas. In these settings, there are many hazards to anticipate and manage, such as heavy machinery and flammable chemicals. By gathering and understanding information, we can control these dangers and make accidents less likely.

The aviation industry is a great example of using data to improve safety. In 1959, there were 40 deadly accidents for every million flights. Today, it’s only 0.1 per million flights.

Part of this success is the thorough recording of information such as incidents and near misses. With a strong learning culture, planes eventually became the safest way of transportation.

The industry is a great example of how data can save lives and what we can learn from aviation health and safety.

So where do you start? What data should we look at for workplace safety? What are the most important things to check for on your site to keep it safe?

Key Metrics in Safety Analytics

In safety, it’s crucial to keep an eye on two types of metrics. The first type looks at events that have already happened – these are called “lagging indicators.” For example, counting the number of accidents or injuries is a lagging indicator.

The second type is called “leading indicators.” These are warning signs that tell us if something might be going wrong and needs our attention. For instance, near misses and safety inspections results are leading indicators.

While it might be tempting to just look at data that stops accidents, leading indicators help take a more long-term approach. This way, you can find patterns and spot opportunities for improvement.

That’s why both types of safety leading indicators are vital. Here’s a list of key safety metrics you should focus on:

Lagging indicatorsLeading indicators
Injury frequencyNear miss reports
Injury severityHazard observations
Recordable injuriesInspection results
Lost workdaysTraining participation
IllnessesRisk ratings from assessments
FatalitiesSafety audits
Incident rateNumber of safety meetings
Total recordable incident rate (TRIR)Number of training hours completed
Lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR)Severity of hazards
 Average time to close out corrective actions

Managing and keeping an eye on all these metrics can be quite challenging, especially in a large company. That’s why we’re going to explore common barriers and how you can navigate them in the next section.

Overcoming Common Data Hurdles

The bigger your company, the more data you’ll deal with. With that come common problems, like:

  • Data silos
  • Lack of standardization
  • Losing important data
  • Spending too much time on collecting and analyzing data

So, how do we solve these issues for proper safety analytics? Think of it like creating a game plan.

First up, everyone needs to play by the same rules. That’s where standardization comes in. If everyone fills out forms in the same way, it keeps things clear and everyone is on the same page. This makes it much easier for everyone to report incidents and inspections, in a consistent way.

Next, we need teamwork. It’s important to get everyone involved in safety. To do that, you need to be open about what happens with the data people submit. This creates engagement among employees. When you share data reports, workers feel more involved in progress and are more likely to participate.

Additionally, this breaks down barriers about hazard data. This ensures that important information reaches people quickly and helps prevent accidents before they happen.

How Software Can Help You With Safety Analytics

Collecting data consistently is just part of the process. Now, what do you do with all of it? If you’re a big company, handling a ton of data manually with Excel is too much work.

So, you need safety software to track and analyze your data. But here’s the catch: some tools are too simple, and others are just too complicated. You also don’t want to make things more confusing by introducing yet another new platform – that means spending more time logging into different systems.

Pro-Sapien understood this problem and created safety management software that works with Microsoft 365. With Pro-Sapien, you can use the market-leading Microsoft Power BI, which customers like because it’s easy to use, integrates well, and is secure.

You can create your own Power BI reports to track everything you need. You’ll have the ability to drill into your safety data, find trends, and measure performance against your KPIs.

Find out how you can make smarter decisions using Power BI for safety analytics in our helpful guide:

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  • Savannah Welzel

    Originally from Germany, Savannah joined the Pro-Sapien marketing department in 2023. She studied Media Management & Marketing and has a broad background of experience in the Communications departments for global manufacturers as well as over 3 years of working at a digital agency in Scotland. Savannah is researching and producing informative content that helps guide EHS professionals through the complex EHS software marketplace.

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