Couple of Interesting Recent Articles by Phil LaDuke
63.28% of All Statistics are Made Up –
I found this and thought you might be interested. An industry has grown up around HW Heinrich’s dubious research into the causes of injuries. His claim that 95% of all injuries have a behavioural element is widely quoted as Gospel, despite questionable research methods. Here’s a look at why this antiquated research might just be dangerous.
Statistics are tricky. Because they are expressions of probability one can be mislead by statistic, as the old saying goes, “statistics lie, and liars use statistics”. In the world of safety perhaps the most widely quoted, pervasive, and well…just plain wrong, statistic is that 95% of all injuries are caused by unsafe behaviors. It’s a tidy and convenient statistic that is cherished by both Operations and Safety professionals. People like this statistic, chiefly because it puts the onus on the worker for staying safe. It holds, that 95% of all injured workers are to blame for their injuries (or at a minimum, another worker’s behavior is responsible for their injury.) It lets both companies and safety professionals off the hook—they can’t be held culpable for workers who refuse to work safely.
Fraidy Cats: How Fear Affects Worker Safety
Are We Too Afraid to Stay Safe?
Is a fear in the workplace creating another layer of hazards or is fear just another buzz word safety professionals use to tell us the sky is falling? In this week’s post I take a look at how fear can affect worker safety.
The malingering global economy has created, in many workplaces, a pervasive climate of fear. Fear can undermine worker safety in many ways. But unless we understand the nature and origins of this fear, we can never implement effective countermeasures.
Fear of Being Injured
The safety of the average workplace in most industrialized nations has improved to the extent that in most areas, there aren’t significant populations working in conditions that cause real fear that they may get killed in the course of there normal work routines. Sure there are workplaces out there that are fatalities waiting to happen, and yes, people are more willing to work there in a rough economy than they would be in a good economy. Add to that the fact that more and more employers can’t afford to do adequate maintenance to equipment and facilities and have slashed training budgets and you have a recipe for disaster. Not today, maybe not tomorrow, but if the trend continues unabated injuries and fatalities will rise. Maybe fear isn’t affecting workers in a way it should.
Fear of Reporting Injuries
One of my clients a large manufacturing operation had a hypothesis: layoffs would increase injury claims (mostly fraudulent) as workers preferred to go on disability rather than on unemployment. They did a small study and were surprised by the results. Instances of injury claims (and most notably fraud) decreased. But under recording of injuries skyrocketed. The reason? Workers feared that an injury on their record would make them more likely to be laid off, and what’s more, a medical leave would make it far more difficult to find employment elsewhere if they did lose their jobs. Of course this is only a single example, and one study does not a trend make, but it convinced me, and it convinced my customer.
There are other cases where the fear of reporting injuries can manifest in unexpected ways. In some environments, where a single injury can spoil the safety BINGO or even cost coworkers a quarterly bonus, not only is the fear present its palpable and reasonable. Its unwise to mess with someone’s paycheck in the best economic time, but in a recession it can be downright dangerous.
Read the rest here: http://rockfordgreeneinternational.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/fraidy-cats-how-fear-affects-worker-safety/