Human engineering analysis of real world industrial accidents: Using plant-specific data to understand cultural aspects of accidents

R. Conway Underwood, Sri Kumar, Melissa A. Pethel, Glen Christopher Rains, Paul A. Schlumper, Daniel Strickland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Trends in industrial accident reduction in the USA include building safer and more accountable work cultures. These trends are reflected in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Safety Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). SHARP promotes cultural concepts such as leadership and employee participation. Evaluating the effects of a management system such as SHARP can be difficult for small industrial facilities. Smaller facilities frequently focus their effort on maintaining the required OSHA log of recordable injuries and illnesses. Accident data published by regulatory agencies are often not specific to the tasks in smaller facilities. A study was conducted to identify the cultural effects of safety management systems. Incident data from a rural steel fabrication facility was examined. Comparisons of individuals' accident records identified expected trends, such as the predominance of lacerations as an injury type, and poor forklift operator safety performance. Unexpected trends emerged, such as poor safety records of supervisory employees. These results raised questions about supervisors' exposure to more hazards than other employees and the fact that they are typically older than many of the other employees.. Cultural effects including a pattern of incidents due to unsafe acts were revealed. More incidents occurred early in the year, when pressure to meet annual goals was less, and in warmer weather, when employees were less comfortable. In the same time period, incidents due to unsafe conditions remained constant. Understanding these patterns provided guidance for planning safety communication and training. Self-reporting rates of near misses shows promise as an indicator of safety culture improvement. Similar analysis efforts can result in major improvements in safety by uncovering behavioral and cultural factors in accidents.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication6th World Congress of Biomechanics, WCB 2010 - In Conjunction with 14th International Conference on Biomedical Engineering, ICBME and 5th Asia Pacific Conference on Biomechanics, APBiomech
Pages338-341
Number of pages4
Volume31 IFMBE
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 22 2010
Event6th World Congress of Biomechanics, WCB 2010 - In Conjunction with 14th International Conference on Biomedical Engineering, ICBME and 5th Asia Pacific Conference on Biomechanics, APBiomech - Singapore, Singapore
Duration: Aug 1 2010Aug 6 2010

Other

Other6th World Congress of Biomechanics, WCB 2010 - In Conjunction with 14th International Conference on Biomedical Engineering, ICBME and 5th Asia Pacific Conference on Biomechanics, APBiomech
CountrySingapore
CitySingapore
Period8/1/108/6/10

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering

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    Underwood, R. C., Kumar, S., Pethel, M. A., Rains, G. C., Schlumper, P. A., & Strickland, D. (2010). Human engineering analysis of real world industrial accidents: Using plant-specific data to understand cultural aspects of accidents. In 6th World Congress of Biomechanics, WCB 2010 - In Conjunction with 14th International Conference on Biomedical Engineering, ICBME and 5th Asia Pacific Conference on Biomechanics, APBiomech (Vol. 31 IFMBE, pp. 338-341) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-14515-5_87