Every 15 seconds, 153 workers have a work-related accident. Understanding risk can reduce this figure.

Deepwater Horizon - Gulf of Mexico
No organisation sets out to have failures. This week it was announced that BP will pay $175 million the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the gulf of Mexico. The board of BP did not want this disaster to happen the same way as a small construction company doe not want to see their employees die on the job. The fact remains that every day, 6,300 people die around the world in occupational accidents or from work-related disease — more than 2.3m deaths per year, according to the International Labour Organisation. 

With focus and employing the right tools, focusing on education and behaviour change organisations can turn the trend around. The fact remains there is no easy way to improve. Health and Safety is really about process management. It is about understanding the step by step activities that change raw materials into product or create services for which a company sell. 

What we see more and more each year is that companies who are focused on understanding their processes have less accidents - many have none. Why is this? Because the individual acts of the employees are influenced by the operational environment through eleven basic risk factors: 

1. Design - are installations and working processes logical and practical

2. Tools/Equipment - Are they suitable and available? 

3. Maintenance - is it planned, is it preventative, is it delivered

4. Housekeeping - is workplace clean, ordered with a lean process 

5. External factors to the business - what risks do physical conditions create (Cold, Heat, Darkness, boredom, Abuse)

6. Procedures - Are they defined and clear, are they followed, are they understood

7. Training - Is there a schedule and is learning put into practice

8. Communication - do the work force comprehend the process risks and their responsibilities 

9. Incompatible Goals - does the company understand the ‘trade offs’ - the demand for speed can see a reduction in safety, budget cuts which impact training and EHS increase the risk of accidents and incidents

10. Organisation structure - focusing on the effective coordination between the departments as opposed to one person collecting data on an excel sheet is critical
When organisations elevate occupational health and safety to the level of a core organisational value, they must inevitably commit investment in time, process and employing the right tool. The return on the investment is gained from a reduction in down time, reduction of missed days due to illness and the avoidance of death and injury within the workforce.