Case Study

Reducing incident rates using predictive analytics

Safety conversation

How a small change to a safety program made a big difference to their incident rate

Did you know, oil and gas workers are six times more likely to die on the job than the average American worker? Working daily in dangerous conditions, with hazardous materials, makes energy and resources one of the most high-risk sectors. That’s why making sure workers return home safely at the end of each day is so important for everyone in the industry.

From safety moments to 10-point safety programs, organizations throughout the energy, chemicals and resources sector are continually looking for new ways to embed safety into their work culture. And for one organization it was one-to-one safety conversations. As part of a broader company-wide safety program, the one-to-one safety conversations aim to reinforce safe behaviours and give employees the confidence to engage with others on safety topics.

But after running these conversation programs for some time, the organization wanted to know if they were still effective in preventing injury. Their incident rate tended to follow the same trend as the number of hours, but it had started to increase independently of the hours.

The SaltGrid team were asked to apply predictive analytics to find out if the organization could – or should – improve this activity.

One key learning: when you praise everything you effectively praise nothing

When engaging in a one-to-one safety conversation, employees record that conversation on what is called a conversation card. Using SaltGrid, our team examined the data taken from this card and compared it to the organization’s incident and near miss and hazard identification reports to see if there were any correlations between safety conversations and the incident rate. So, were they effective?

Here’s what we found:

  • More conversations led to fewer hazards, ultimately leading to a lower incident rate.

  • When a high number of positive observations were made, there was no notable correlation to a reduction in hazards. However, when more detailed negative feedback was provided, hazards decreased. When you praise everything, you effectively praise nothing. Specific positive or negative feedback generates the best performance.

  • The card needed to change as it didn’t encourage people to be explicit in their feedback.

When a small change makes a big difference

SaltGrid demonstrated that the organization’s one-to-one safety conversations were effective in reducing incidents, though some changes needed to be made to the conversation card to encourage more detailed and targeted feedback. The organization updated the card and since the changes have been implemented, the incident rate has decreased.

In the chart below, you can see the incident rate compared to the numbers of hours. Since June 2018, after the SaltGrid analysis, the incident rate has consistently declined.

Safety incidents trend graph

Trailing 12 Month Incident Rate (Line) vs Worked Hours (Bars)

For more information - contact Heather Stewart, Operations Director, SaltGrid