Council Unveils Workplace Section of Injury Facts Database

Safety professionals have an exciting new resource at their fingertips, a highly useful database that allows them to benchmark their companies' results against their own industry and other industries' rates.

HOUSTON -- National Safety Council officials announced a new safety data resource on Oct. 23 during a morning news conference at the NSC Congress & Expo taking place here at the George R. Brown Convention Center. This year's #NSCexpo has been a great success through its first two days, with more than 1,100 exhibitors taking part and promising new products on display throughout the expo.

The resource is the newly unveiled Workplace section of the council's Injury Facts database. (NSC member companies and many safety professionals will remember the council's annual Injury Facts book, an information-packed compendium of safety data from many sources. The printed book is no more, but the database more than makes up for it, said Kenneth P. Kolosh, manager of the council's Statistics Department. "It was just a dream a few years ago, and now it's reality," he said of the database (injuryfacts.nsc.org), which he described as a great step forward. Timeliness is its key benefit; data in the resource will be updated routinely, and it can respond to emerging issues. Kolosh said.

Since 2009, when a recession caused a welcome decline in occupational fatalities, preventable workplace deaths are up by 17 percent, and the fatality rate has risen by about 7 percent, he said. Yet nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses are declining.

The database contains data on these trends, and it incorporate research from outside sources to make the data even more useful. A "How to Benchmark" section makes it easy for companies to calculate their own rates and then compare those rates with their own industry's and those of other industries, he explained.

He demonstrated how to find information on how injury rates rise for employees who are working more than 40 hours per week and for workers who average less than seven hours of sleep per night.

Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, and Kolosh pointed out during the news conference that data sources are not optimal for tracking injury trends and understanding the real causes of injuries. Regulations and laws are being rolled back or delayed, and that standards requiring injury reporting are outdated doesn't help, Hersman said. Kolosh noted that injury under-reporting has long been a concern.

At the same news conference, Joy Inouye, a research associate for NSC's Campbell Institute, discussed a new "Serious Injury and Fatality Prevention: Perspectives and Practices" white paper from the institute. It discusses how six Campbell Institute member companies address serious injury and fatality (SIF) prevention. The companies use a risk matrix to categorize SIF precursor events, and they investigate potential SIF events more intensely than less serious ones, Inouye said.

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