Safety and Productivity Management

To ensure their success, safety programs must be actively managed.

Understanding and mastering workplace risks makes senses across a variety of dimensions including espcially those related to legal compliance requirements

To ensure that they remain effective, health, safety and environmental management programs must be supported through the diligent use of safety measurement and performance management systems.

The goal of risk management is to pro-actively assess what if anything could possibly go wrong with an envisioned process or undertaking, determine which kind of risks are likely at every stage of an envisioned process as well as how best to implement strategies to deal with all risks ultimately identified.

Knaack and Associates has the experience to help your organization better understand the kinds of occupational health, safety and environmental risks faced by your staff. 

Whether you are looking at improvements to office based programs or industrial manufacturing operations look no further than the Knaack team of safety professionals to assist you in implementing solutions based on your needs.

We apply proven scientific principles and occupational risk management guidelines to help your organization localize, understand and better master identified occupational health, safety and environmental risks through the implementation of engineering and any other controls necessary supported by targeted employee training and corporate communications programs.    

A summary of the most common sources of injury in Canadian workplaces reveals some extremely consistent trends.

Despite significant progress in the development of occupational health and safety protections for Canadians, the major source of injury to workers in this country continues to be overexertion.   

Workplace Hazard Control Strategies:

Hazard control refers to the program or process used to establish preventative and corrective measures as the final stage of hazard recognition, assessment and control.

The goal is to eliminate, reduce, or control hazards so as to minimize injuries and losses, including accidents, property damage, and time lost.

Three basic levels of intervention exist. They include pre-contact controls, contact controls, and post contact controls.

Pre-contact controls are controls that are put in place in a preemptive fashion in anticipation of specific hazards. The construction of buildings and other structures according to provincial building codes is but one example of a pre-contact control.

Contact controls are controls designed to address identified hazards in such a way that these occupational hazards can be prevented from becoming worse.

Post contact controls involve consequence management steps such as the medical inputs, clean up operations, hazardous occurrence investigations and new investments in corporate safety that typically follow an accident that lead to a workplace injury or fatality.

Controls at each of these three levels may comprise of engineering controls, administrative controls, control by substitution, as well as control through the assignment of personal protective equipment to potentially impacted personnel.

Safety Measurement:

Downstream Indicators (Trailing or Lagging)

Otherwise known as trailing or lagging indicators, downstream indicators represent more of historical and statistical approach to health and safety management. If unacceptable numbers of accidents, injuries or other failures occur, it is generally no longer possible to prevent or remedy them.

While downstream indicators remain an important part of the metrics available to measure corporate health safety performance as a whole they also remain extremely vulnerable to the suppression of data, late reporting and under-reporting. In the end, the quality of trailing indicators such as the injury (IR) and severity rate (SR), accident and incident and first aid statistics, corporate worker's compensation and disability inputs, as well as the average annual cost to an organization of safety related litigation, citations and regulatory penalties are more akin to a report card than a proactive management tool.

Hence, the use of trailing indicators as the basis of occupational health and safety and environmental compliance programs can only be of limited value. Lagging indicators can only provide insight into how well an organization has done in the past. Trailing indicators also can only provide how a clear picture of past practices and problems. Forward-thinking leadership requires leading indicators which enable theunderstanding of the effectiveness of the safety efforts underway at an operation. 

Upstream Indicators (Leading Indicators)
Upstream or leading indicators present a more effective way to integrate the human element into actively achieving corporate health and safety goals. As safety programs require a clear commitment by managerial and supervisory staffs upstream indicators target something more than the mere completion of monthly status reports. As such upstream indicators target the development of stakeholder interaction not only in the service of injury and accident prevention goals but also as a vehicle of ensuring the quality of production and managment efforts are subject to a process of continuous review and improvement.

Leading indicators measure proactive efforts. These indicators can uncover weaknesses before they develop into full-fledged problems. Leading indicators are effective predictors of safety performance because they focus on the types of issues that are key to successful safety performance. These factors include key organizational development issues such as the quality of safety leadership, corporate safety cultures, and the related health, safety and environmental programs and policies.

Some examples of leading indicators include: quality reviews of internal audit programs, technical analysis of process hazards reviews, revisiting first aid, fire, and emergency response plans, increased corporate targeting of  near-accident (incidents / near misses) scenarios through reporting and analysis, internal and external third party surveys of employee attitudes and perceptions of corporate health and safety programs and cultures.

How "Upstream Indicators" can provide safety managers with the tools to proactively measure and evalute corporate health, safety and environmental performance levels:

Determine that performance is acceptable - no changes to systems required
Determine that performance is improving - Interventions are working
Determine that performance is declining - Additional Interventions needed
Determine that performance is unacceptable - Interventions must be developed and implemented.

Knaack & Associates can help your organization with all of its occupational risk management and hazard assessment needs.

Our skill inventory encompasses everything from the ability to provide hazard assessments, the provision of support for corporate due diligence and compliance activity as well as injury and consequence management services  

Risk Assessments in the Context of

Health and Safety 

Risk assessment is the methodology used to establish the anticipated degree of hazard or risk associated with a specific activity. Risk is the probability of an injury occurring expressed as a percentage. Risk is calculated by determining the probability of an occurrence, the consequences of that occurrence, and the exposure to the cause of the occurrence, expressed in accordance with the following equation:

Risk   =   Probability x Consequences x Exposure

Probability refers to the chance or likelihood that an event will actually take place. The range of probabilities for occupation risks can range from between 5% and 95%. Four levels of probability can be used ranging from the concept of likely, where an event is expected to occur immediately or shortly after exposure to the hazard, probable, where an event will likely occur over time, possible, where the event will occur over time, and unlikely where an event is unlikely to occur at all. 

Exposure is an expression of the degree of worker exposure to a given hazard. The estimate of exposure includes nut just the number of people who are regularly exposed but also the frequency of such exposures to the hazard.

The anticipated Consequences of a hazardous event correspond to the expected severity of an injury. Four criteria are used to express the level of consequences range from catastrophic, which implies that the event may cause death or the loss of a facility, critical, where the implications range from severe injury, the development of an occupational illness or collateral damage to the degree of major property damage, marginal, where the expected mishap may cause minor injury or minor occupational illness resulting in lost time or minor property damage, to negligible where specific health and safety criteria are violated but the safety of personnel remains unaffected. 


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