Workforce Health & Safety

Victoria Schoenlaub

13 min Read Time | August 10th 2021

Key Takeaways

1

The company should be part of a ‘dangerous’ industry so that the topic is relevant.

2

The data needs to be available, go beyond injury/fatality rates, and be industry-specific. You should prioritize external impact if available.

3

Finally, you should provide some context and a critical assessment of the metrics.

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What is it?

Workplace safety describes the working environment at a company and encompasses all factors that impact the safety, health, and well-being of employees. This can include environmental hazards, unsafe working conditions or processes, workplace violence, chemical contamination, etc.

Even though physical injury rates are decreasing with increasing safety processes in the industry, injuries and illnesses related to ergonomically related risks remain present.

Overall, the four main safety issues in the industry are:

  1. Systemic issues, i.e., lifting techniques, bad designs, repetitive movement…
  2. Inadequate visual reminders, i.e., recalling techniques and safety issues.
  3. Weak support system, i.e., reminders, improving compliance, calling out unsafe behaviour.
  4. Missing employee awareness in training, which would help navigate hazards complementing engineering solutions, reducing human error, and others.


Source
https://www.inc.com/encyclopedia/workplace-safety.html
https://www.hsa.ie/eng/Publica...
https://safestart.com/news/4-c...

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Impact Assessment

Workplace safety is a topic worth discussing due to companies' responsibility to provide a safe and healthy work environment. First, however, we must prioritize the most critical topics that show where the company is having the most significant impact.

It is important to mention that this priority has to do with the scale of the impact, how recent it is, and how its mission, products, and services impact society and the environment. This last point means looking at their external impact first (workplace safety is an internal impact).

For this topic to be published, the following must be accomplished:

1. You need to show the company is in a “dangerous” industry (i.e., auto manufacturing, mining, oil extraction, food processing, etc.). This will determine if this is a relevant topic to be published.

This can be established in the introduction. Ideally, it would include information about the industry the company is operating in, such as:

  • The number of deaths and injuries, if available.
  • The types of incidents in the sector (to compensate for the possible lack of transparency by the company).


2. There needs to be enough data available (how many people were affected, number of incidences, severity, etc.). Make sure that these figures are significant. The injury rate (i.e., LTIFR and TRIFR ) is not enough to determine the impact as it does not help to show what is really going on, such as the gravity of the injuries or illnesses. Compared to the industry average, these metrics can be mentioned to help show a comparison but should only be secondary to the analysis.


These metrics only give the reader an idea of the year-on-year changes and compare the industry average in a superficial manner, which can be considered remediation. Even as readers, we do not really understand how the calculations are made, nor are they insightful as we do not know the nature of the employment, their contracts, etc.

The core analysis should include the following:

  • The number of deaths and injuries in one year for the company being investigated. We measure absolute impact, and therefore, the analysis needs to use metrics available to disclose absolute values. In other words, 300 serious injuries will speak much more to our readers than a TRIR of 0.32.
  • How many injuries per week in 1 year, i.e., calculation: if there are 52 weeks in a year and 25 incidents happened, then that means someone is injured every 2.08 weeks (52/25) or 0.48 injuries occurred every week (25/52). Or, if the company employs 2,282 people, and 25 incidents happened, then (25/2,282) 0.01 accidents happened that year for every employee.
  • Establish whether the company has a poor track record to show the evolution and persistence
  • Whether there are measures in place to ensure the health and safety of its employees.
  • A competitor analysis shows how a similar company in the same industry performs and has a poor track record if need be. Here is the only time LTIR and TRIR can be used, as it should only be a measure of comparison to the industry it is in.
  • Whenever possible, distinguish the data per job category (employees & contractors) to show, in certain cases, which group is most affected by poor safety outcomes.

Using TRIR and LTIR metrics to calculate the absolute injuries:

TRIR = (# of incidents x 200,000)/ # of hours worked. Where 200,000 is the hours of work, 100 employees would work. Therefore, to solve for the # number of incidents, the formula is = (TRIR x # hours worked in 1yr)/ 200,000.

Example: Lundin Energy company (report p.35), the TRIR = 0.63, # hours worked= 1,584,509. Therefore, the # of incidents recorded by the company are: (0.63 x 1,584,509)/200,000 = 4.9

In most cases, the number of hours worked is disclosed.

If the number of hours worked is not disclosed, you can use a proxy by dividing the number of accidents by the total number of employees.

The only thing that this approximation does not capture is the fact that not all employees are full-time. However, we can assume that, on average, employees work at a 90% employment rate.

The analyses on accidents should first focus on the absolute number of accidents (and fatalities) over a few years rather than just one year as we measure absolute impact.

If you do not have the number of accidents, then you can use the employee count, assume the hours worked are 40 hours per week, and 50 weeks in a year (based on TRIR), then you can calculate a rough estimate of the absolute amount of accidents in a year.

Note: The TRIR should not be included in the title of the analysis as a central point, but it should be used to assess the company's safety record relative to peers of the same industry.

The TRIR and LTIR should not be used to calculate fatalities but can estimate the absolute amount of injuries.

Whenever you make your own calculations, please make it very clear in the analysis that this is an estimate and not facts.

3. Try to go beyond the company’s internal impact by looking at their supply chain, for example. This is in line with prioritizing external versus internal impact. Oftentimes this is where the most critical and significant outcomes/impact can be found.


4. You should make a critical assessment and not just report numbers found in the report without contextualizing them. Instead of focusing on year-on-year progress and reduction, it is best to focus on 2020 data (current impact), mention the types of injuries/deaths, analyse the health/psychological impact on employees, and compare the company’s data to the industry average. You can look at whether the company has a poor track record or has been sanctioned for overlooking workplace safety regulations, but you should focus on the current impact.


Ensure you add value to your readers and go beyond the company’s CSR report by not merely reporting data from the company’s report but going the extra mile of providing additional metrics, studies, and sources to make your analysis robust and the impact value and scale are clear.

We want to note that rating an impact note is as important as writing one. It is essential to the Impaakt platform that each rating is carefully considered within the particular topic to ensure that the company score is accurate.

For this topic, in companies that have achieved zero fatalities and/or zero injuries, the impact is not necessarily positive as it is expected - meaning that there should not be injuries or fatalities in the first place. This translates into a 0 impact value score, and the scale can reflect the extent accordingly.


Please read our article Rating an Impact Analysis to understand how to make a rating correctly.

Additional Information

Oil & Gas

For oil and gas exploration and production companies, it is worth evaluating the issues experienced by workers getting hurt, fires and explosions from the ignition of flammable vapours or gases, vehicle collisions, falls, confined spaces, ergonomics hazards, high-pressure lines and equipment, electrical hazards, etc.


Metals & Mining

For metals and mining companies, it is worth evaluating the issues experienced by workers getting hurt, lung diseases from, for example, inhalations of coal dust, blasting related accidents from rocks or others, premature blasts, misfires, mine-induced seismicity, hearing damage, whole-body vibration hazard, UV exposure, Musculoskeletal disorders, thermal or heat stress, chemical hazards…etc.


Rail Transportation

For railway companies, it is worth evaluating the issues experienced by workers getting hurt, exposure to toxic chemicals, slips, trips, falls accidents, hazards from high-voltage electricity, hazards from moving trains...etc.

Automobiles

For automotive companies, it is worth evaluating the issues experienced by workers getting hurt. During the design phase, many destructive tests are performed, with fast-moving and/or flying objects, high temperatures, chemicals, high electrical power, early prototypes driving to name a few.

The production itself involves very dense and heavy components carried up in the air by robots and high temperatures, high electrical power, chemical treatments, and repeating tasks that typically lead to musculoskeletal disorders, etc. So although the car industry has been doing pretty good at keeping accidents low, the occasions to injure or even kill employees are legions.


Aerospace & Defense

For aerospace & defense companies, it is worth evaluating the issues experienced by workers getting hurt. Immediate, direct physical trauma can occur from falling objects, tripping/falling from high elevations, lifting/bending injuries, repetitive stress, crushing, toxic material exposure touching ungrounded electrical equipment and other dangerous objects, contusions, and others.


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