New Report Details Continued High Serious Injury Rate in Transportation & Warehousing

Despite a 20-year steady decline in overall recorded incident rates in the US, serious injury and fatality rates have not slowed down.

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New data from ISN’s Serious Injury and Fatality (SIF) Insights report reveals the safety challenges still facing companies across a variety of industries. According to ISN, the transportation and warehousing industry has led in SIF rates from 2017 to 2019. Despite a 20-year steady decline in overall recorded incident rates in the US, SIF rates have not slowed down.

While other industries show variation in the type of injury and body part impacted, contractors performing transportation and warehousing work saw consistency in the body parts being affected over the three years. The lower extremities and the trunk were impacted most often, consistent with injuries common to drivers. This consistency demonstrates a serious lack of proactivity among safety leaders in the transportation and warehousing industry.

The new report leveraged ISN’s contractor management platform data to analyze over 55,000 recordable incidents from 2017-2019. Using historical data, the report’s findings highlight how companies can take action to minimize the risk of SIF incidents in the future. 

Themes from the SIF Insights report include:

Leading indicators for SIFs — Organizations are more likely to experience higher SIF rates if contractors work at heights of six feet or higher, bring chemicals on site, work with rigging material handling, or perform welding, cutting or hot work.

When examining the types of injuries impacting workers, the majority involved sprains, strains and tears in the upper extremities. These incidents were most often caused by contact with an object or equipment. More than 30 percent of SIFs caused by slips, trips or falls resulted in fractures or dislocations, and the lower extremities were impacted in more than 40 percent of cases.

Factors reducing occurrences of SIFs — Organizations are less likely to experience SIFs if contractors work in a Process Safety Management (PSM) Facility, if the employer has established an environmental program, or employs a paramedic at the worksite or during large projects.

Concerning the prospect of a fatal incident, the survey found “repeated accidents without consequences” and “large companies filling seats with unprofessional drivers” were the most commonly cited reasons an accident would happen. This indicates that companies have the data and tools to predict SIFs at their disposal, but may require outside help to make meaningful change in their organizations. 

Developing a culture of safety — In addition to contractor characteristics and incident-specific data, information on safety culture and employee and contractor perceptions at an organization are key leading indicators for SIFs. In fact, 75 percent of the surveyed hiring clients believe improving safety culture and value alignment is an effective approach to reducing SIFs.

With the Serious Incident and Fatality Insights Report, ISN’s goal is to provide data to help organizations put an emphasis on safety culture and focus on actively minimizing incident rates on their job sites. By leveraging the data collected in the SIF Insights report, companies and contractors can continue to develop actionable strategies that mitigate the risk of SIFs.

Jenny Buckley is Vice President of ISN, a contractor management platform that connects over 75,000 active contractors and suppliers with nearly 650 hiring clients around the globe.

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