New Campbell Institute Research Guides Employers on How to Prevent Serious Injuries and Fatalities

Through a new white paper, the Institute addresses programmatic elements organizations can use to design their prevention programs.

April 07, 2022

ITASCA, Ill. – The Campbell Institute, the global center of environment, health and safety (EHS) excellence at the National Safety Council, released a new white paper, Serious Injury and Fatality Prevention: Leading Indicators, Cumulative Risk and Safety Networks — the third in a series on this emerging safety trend. This report introduces two frameworks to support serious injury and fatality (SIF) prevention efforts — cumulative risk assessment and social network analysis.

Interviews were conducted with nine Campbell Institute member organizations where interviewees shared details about leading indicators and SIF prevention approaches. The interviews included questions about data collection efforts and analysis strategies, leading indicators related to SIF prevention, leadership and employee engagement around SIF prevention, and challenges organizations have faced. This process identified foundational elements for a leading indicator program, a list of leading indicators for SIF prevention and how safety networks are critical to an expanded approach to risk assessment.

The research reveals SIF prevention is dependent on effectively identifying and controlling risk. As organizations mature along their safety journeys, risk assessments must also take a more sophisticated form. Single hazard risk assessments are appropriate for some situations, but others may involve interactions between two or more hazards. The hazards should be assessed together to accurately measure the risk and determine if the situation may result in a SIF. 

Additionally, social network analysis is a long-standing, empirically founded framework referenced among EHS professionals but has not been formally identified. However, elements from social network analysis can be used to measure and analyze leading indicators for SIF prevention through the development of cumulative risk assessment modeling. The advantage of a network approach is that it considers how people interact with each other rather than only how they interact with the EHS management system.

"Organizations must avoid complacency and approach safety and risk assessment as ongoing, evolving issues," said Katherine Mendoza, director of the Campbell Institute. "We know that strategic thinking and organizational culture are the most important indicators of successful SIF prevention, so if organizations think beyond their current solutions and seek opportunities to constructively communicate with one another regularly, we will save lives."

This white paper was launched ahead of the Campbell Institute Symposium taking place April 11-12, 2022, where serious injury and fatality prevention will be a leading topic of discussion. Register to attend The Future of EHS in-person in Louisville, Kentucky, or online as a virtual attendee.

Discover more Campbell Institute research.

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