How can predictive analytics improve workplace health and safety?
The need to operate safely is fundamental to the success of any organization. Failure to operate safely can have severe negative impacts on an organization’s finances, regulatory compliance, brand, and reputation (see Connecting the Dots: Safety and Profitability to learn more). Thankfully, the application of statistical methods across multiple disparate data sources now provides organizations with the insights needed to understand the root causes of workplace accidents—causes that were previously obscure and poorly understood. By arming companies with relevant data, predictive modelling techniques allows them to more effectively address occupational health and safety issues.
The predictive analytic process illustrates how predictive modeling techniques can improve workplace health and safety. It is a six-phase approach, which guides the gathering and creation of solid, objective, data-driven evidence.
These six phases are:
1. Business Understanding
This phase involves understanding project objectives and requirements from a business perspective. That is, identifying the health and safety challenges faced by the organization, as well as the approach to integrate the insights from the project into the business operations. This requires, then, setting up an analytics plan to achieve the desired workplace health and safety outcomes.
2. Data Understanding
This phase involves the collection of data from safety claims, incidents and observations, HR information, the worksite, and so on. In this phase, the quality of the data is also assessed.
3. Data Preparation
During this phase data gathered from the organization is integrated and manipulated with other external data sources (for example, data from regulatory bodies like OSHA) to create an integrated data set for analysis.
During this phase, various predictive analytical modelling techniques are chosen and applied in order to determine relevant relationships between safety outcomes and operational metrics. By doing so, companies obtain insights into where accidents are most likely to happen and under what circumstances.
In this phase, the insights obtained are evaluated and validated in the context of the issue being address (in this case, workplace health and safety). The analytical findings gathered are then presented to the organization for review by a team of safety professionals and company leaders.
The final phase involves organizing, presenting, and delivering the knowledge obtained in a manner that allows safety professionals and company leaders to use it to improve workplace health and safety outcomes.
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