You can’t “Explain Away” Safety Trends

by Steve Gifford

Put simply, three reportable injuries in a two year period is a trend. Pretending it isn’t will cost you money.

I met with a client a few weeks ago that had seen five injuries this year. All were relatively minor lacerations, with very little time lost. What was notable, though, was that the shop foreman had an explanation for each one. This person is just accident prone, that one was using a machine they weren’t used to, and so on.

This kind of thinking is, quite literally, dangerous.

Workplace injuries are not a normal, routine “cost of doing business.” This many injuries means something. It could be a lack of training, poor staffing, inept management, or something else. It isn’t just a string of bad luck, though.

Business owners, especially in manufacturing, can very quickly get pulled in to the day to day. If there are several months between incidents, it doesn’t feel like a trend. However, it will look like a trend to your employees, and it will look like one to your Worker’s Compensation carrier. You can ignore these incidents, but you won’t be able to ignore what happens to your Comp rates!

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