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Offshore Support Journal

Using safety statistics to improve working practices

Wed 10 Apr 2019 by Ed Martin

Using safety statistics to improve working practices
Nick Hough (IMCA): Member data is helping improve safety and benchmark performance

IMCA's technical adviser Nick Hough explains how updating its methods for collecting safety statistics has improved safety management and safe working practices

Safety is of paramount importance to IMCA and its members. At the start of the year when inviting all IMCA contractor members to take part in our annual safety statistics survey we introduced them to our new web-based dashboard. This has proved simple to use and provided members with an immediate bonus, as they can instantly benchmark their performance.

The move from a spreadsheet to the web-based dashboard has had positive reactions. Many commented on how easy it was to submit their data, but also appreciated being able to quickly and easily judge their performance with that of similar-sized companies. Previously, they had to contact us in order to find out, in confidence, what their position was within their man-hour size band.

Not only has the number of companies that have supplied statistics this year risen, so too has the number of man-hours reported. In 2018 (reporting on 2017) it was 562M; now for 2018 it currently stands at 658M (and rising). This could be due to the fact that our statistics are no longer collected in terms of ‘onshore’ and ‘offshore’ hours, but organised in ‘total hours’ worked, and ‘offshore hours’.

Another change implemented this year was to focus on just the headline data and streamline the amount of information collected. We have removed the need for separate definitions for injuries (such as ‘restricted work day’, ‘medical treatment’ and ‘first aid’) instead using ‘Recordable Injury’ which is a widely understood and industry-standard term.

“A member company that records statistics on safety observations understands the role of cause and effect in safety management and safe working practice and is to be congratulated"

Members are asked to record statistics for fatalities, for lost-time injuries (LTIs), and to give a total for recordable cases which includes fatalities and LTIs.

Another important element in our annual collection of safety statistics is asking for statistics on safety observations. A member company that records them understands the role of cause and effect in safety management and safe working practice and is to be congratulated. As an industry we continually improve in reporting safety observations of all kinds, which can only be for the good. It is indeed better to be safe than sorry.

In the past, IMCA members have been able to report LTIs but not necessarily report a cause. This year, all reported LTIs must be assigned to one of six causes:

  • Stored energy release – 29%
  • Slips and trips – 21%
  • Dropped/falling objects – 19%
  • Line of fire/caught between/struck against – 16%
  • Falls from height – 8%
  • Muscle stress and repetitive movement – 6%

The emergence of “stored energy release” as the most significant cause makes it possible that many of the LTIs reported in previous years with no cause had this as a common factor. We will delve deeper into LTIs reported under this heading and produce suitable safety material to address it. Such material, along with good practice guidance, safety flashes, seminars and workshops, plays an important role in driving down LTIs and improving safety levels.

As an example, a series of four ‘DROPS’ videos produced for Subsea 7, and kindly made available to IMCA for wider industry use is now available on our website. In both 2017 and 2018 ‘dropped/falling objects’ were in third position on the LTI cause list, so it is vital to find new ways of attracting the attention of the entire workforce to make them aware of the dangers.

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