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Determining Serious Injury and Fatality Exposure Potential

Determining Serious Injury and Fatality (SIF) Exposure Potential

Over the past several months we have extensively examined a startling fact that has caught the attention of safety and operations leaders; over the past five years serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs) have plateaued or increased while smaller injuries have continuously declined. The pattern is seen to varying degrees at the site level as well as the company and national level and calls some fundamental safety science assumptions into question.

Seven global companies sponsored a study to explore this phenomenon, its implications, and how to address it. The seven companies’ combined data was subjected to in‑depth qualitative, statistical, and root cause analysis. Leaders from each company formed a team to support the analysis and interpretation of data. Findings from the study identified two primary reasons that reduction in less serious injuries does not necessarily correspond to reduction in SIFs:

1. The causes and correlates of SIFs are often different from those for less serious injuries.

2. The potential for serious injury is low for the majority (typically around 80%) of non‑SIF injuries.

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