We have grown up hurting ourselves physically while playing or doing daily activities. When we fall or get injured, in some incidents, our parents say, “It’s okay. You will be fine.”. In contrast, at some, they say, “please be extra careful so it does not happen again.”
These two cautionary sentences themselves determine that the first is generally harmless trips and falls, but the second one is one with the possibilities of grave injuries..
Now take this example and set it up at a workplace. Some accidents and incidents cause hurt and injuries, and there are fatal accidents that cause life-altering injuries or even death.
As workplaces evolved, these incidents and accidents needed special attention. They were required to be divided into categories. Therefore, Heinrich’s triangle in the past proved helpful in determining near misses and serious accidents. But as time evolved, companies debated the triangle and parallelly adopted the SIF approach to severe incidents.
This article will cover both approaches and even provide insights into how EHS software can help tackle near misses and fatal accidents.
The Heinrich’s Triangle And Its Debate
In 1930, Herbert Heinrich first introduced his famous Safety Triangle. This safety triangle is divided into three significant sections. The bottom section of the triangle represents 300 near-misses, the middle section represents 29 minor injuries, and the topmost represents one major injury.
According to this triangle, if you reduce the 300 near-miss accidents at the bottom, the minor incidents and the topmost fatal injury can be reduced.
Even though the safety industry widely follows the theory, there is a debate among safety professionals whether all near-miss incidents may or may not be related to severe injuries.
For example, an object falling from a height and a person tripping over a wire are both near misses. But don’t they have highly different consequences if the near miss turns into an accident?
This is where the safety professionals put on their thinking hats. They concluded that a method was required wherein the near misses could be categorized as extraordinarily fatal and less fatal. This is where the SIF approach stepped in. The safety professionals incorporated advanced root cause analysis to know the consequences of a particular near miss. This helped to categorize the accidents precisely.
What is SIF
SIF implies a Serious Injury or Fatality event, an accident or near-miss that did or could have resulted in a hazardous and life-altering injury or illness.
The SIF requires special attention as these events predict severe workplace threats. Identifying and overturning such events elevate the safety of the employees while significantly saving time and resources.
The identification of SIF has its roots in Heinrich’s theory. But safety professionals are trying to give it a better approach by categorizing near-miss events.
The SIF Approach
Safety professionals encourage a SIF approach at workplaces. This means that when a near miss occurs, the advanced root cause analysis determines if the accident would happen and how grave it could be. Then based on these predetermined consequences, the near miss is determined as less fatal or a SIF.
When a particular near miss is identified as severe, the actions to rectify, nullify and avoid it should be implemented immediately. This approach will amplify safety and ensure that grave situations are handled proactively and immediately.
But the other category of less severe incidents still needs to be addressed. They also require time, attention, and a set of solutions.
Therefore, acting on both the near-misses based on the intensity of the consequences can notably reduce the possibilities of SIF.
How Does Software Help?
Safety professionals have so much on their plate. Every safety professional has a dedicated set of duties, but we should remember that they are humans. Human errors are less significant when there are faults or mistakes in a SlideShare, excel sheet, or report. But when these are related to safety, even human error can be fatal.
It is not just reports and slides but also the root cause analysis and development of a safety plan. Of course, the software cannot replace a safety officer, but it can be a great helping hand to them by eliminating the possibilities of human error.
For example, when a near miss is categorized as a SIF, the software has built-in steps for an action plan. The EHS software management has essential modules of near-misses, CAPA, JHA, and HIRA, to name a few. Thus every tiny incident is reported, and the software can quickly determine the situation’s intensity.
This will help the safety professionals act more quickly while providing a deeper insight into EHS management.
- Replaces tedious manual work
- Provides a centralized platform to store, track and analyze data
- It helps to make intelligent and proactive decisions
- Improvises the record-keeping process
- Provides robust analytics for continuous improvement
When an organization has all the safety data in one place, it gets a birds-eye view of all the safety-related actions. It helps to improvise the areas of weaknesses and amplify safety. The centralized platform for incident-related information provides an easy categorization of near-miss incidents.
Technology in the safety sector is trying its hands on new things every day. Every new upgrade, module, or software integration promises safety elevation.
SIF is an aspect of safety that can change an individual’s life overnight. If ignored, it could not only turn to be a grave situation for the organization, but a family could lose their support. Hence it is crucial to incorporate Heinrich’s triangle and SIF approach for the best of the employees.
There are straightforward ways to avoid workplace injuries and near-misses turning fatal. All we need to do is stay vigilant and cautious. Any little slip or fall of objects should be addressed and reported. You will be happily surprised when you see the software’s analytics when every near miss is documented and then averted!