And how does a company learn from injuries by proper analysis and investigation so it can avoid them in future?
These are important questions at any time, but have been placed in sharp relief by the results of a recent survey conducted by the New Zealand Institute of Safety Management.
The survey’s 118 responses revealed that New Zealand organisations use a variety of incompatible measures of injury rates, and many of them do not put any serious effort into investigating causes.
The survey asked participants for the definition of lost-time injury used by their organisation. Two areas of variation emerged: the definition of “lost time”, and the number of hours worked.
Some companies defined a lost-time injury as one in which the worker remained off work for one whole working day (or shift). Others regarded them as any injury resulting in any time off work at all.
Also, some companies defined their lost-time injury rate as the number of LTIs per 100,000 hours worked, while others used per million hours worked.
These key variations make comparison of injury rates between companies, and across industry sectors, needlessly difficult.