You’re Underestimating Your Company’s Accidents

By Frank Kenna

Your company probably has twice the number of accidents than you think it does.  That’s the finding from a recent study by Washington State University.

In it, researches looked at 425 employees employed in 5 industries with above average accident risk.  They thought that most accidents would be reported, seeing how those types of organizations are extra-vigilant about accident prevention and reporting.  However, what they found was very interesting.  On average, there were 2.48 unreported accidents for every one reported.

The reasons for this are varied.  I’ve heard theories that range from employees not considering an accident serious enough to report it, to employees being pressured by management not to report them so their safety record looks good.  There’s probably some truth in both, depending on the individual employee or company.  Regardless, the implications are the same: unreported accidents negate the opportunity to fix the underlying problem, therefore propagating an environment for more accidents.

The vast majority of Marlin customers I’ve visited over the past 10 years want employees to report accidents.  They have processes in place to make sure of it.  That’s because they realize that trying to coerce under-reporting is a short-term game. These companies want to identify the problem the first time, and fix it.  Who wouldn’t?  Preventing workplace injuries is dependant upon first-time reporting of accidents. That’s why the statistic above surprises me.

I’d be interested in theories on why this is happening from any readers out there… it will help us identify trends with our customers that will in turn lead to safer workplaces.  An effective workplace safety program is something that every company wants.

Sharon Toelle
August 12, 2010

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