EHS Decision-Makers Must Manage Critical Risks To Reduce Workplace Fatality Rates: How Forwood Fills This Void

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EHS Decision-Makers Must Manage Critical Risks To Reduce Workplace Fatality Rates: How Forwood Fills This Void

For many years, the EHS function has held the view that minimizing accidents and incidents ultimately leads to reduction of worker fatalities and serious injuries. While overall accident rates have dropped over the last few decades, fatality rates have not dropped as expected. Over the past 25 years, the OSHA recordable injury rate dropped from 8.9 injuries per 100 workers to 2.8 injuries per 100 workers, a 67% decrease In the same time span, the workplace preventable fatality rate only dropped 26%, with 4,414 preventable fatalities occurring in the workplace in 2017. The stagnant trend in workplace fatalities (and even slight increase in fatalities over the past 10 years), especially compared to the steady decrease in workplace injuries, is cause for concern for many EHS professionals. Firms can no longer rely on traditional schools of thoughts for workplace fatality prevention and instead recognize new approaches to serious injury and fatality prevention.

Many EHS software firms offer functionality for managing behavior-based observations, incidents and corrective actions as means of reducing workplace risk. While this provides customers with powerful tools for overall safety management very few vendors focused on the eradication of fatalities in the workplace. Recognizing the importance of having a discreet focus on fatality prevention; Verdantix spoke with Forwood Safety who specialize in eliminating workplace fatalities and managing critical controls to prevent catastrophic failures. Forwood offers a turnkey fatality prevention solution that is comprised of comprehensive critical control checklists (for most industries), a proven methodology, all of which is supported by cutting edge technology.   Forwood has worked with customers to support the prevention fatalities across more than 300+ sites globally. Some of their customers have recently achieved their 1st fatality-free year in more than 100 years of operation.

Stagnant fatality rates indicate that the correlation between incidents and fatality events is not as strong as previously hypothesized. In 2019, Verdantix started working with the National Safety Council on its Work To Zero initiative to reduce workplace fatalities and serious injuries to zero by identifying core critical risks of high-potential events and how technology can help control them. Industries must enact a shift in focus when identifying potential to reduce fatalities and serious injuries. Firms will need to rely on new technologies and software solutions, such as from Forwood Safety, to help address critical risks within its operations and ultimately reduce workplace fatalities.

Bill Pennington

VP Research, EHS & Risk Management

Bill is the VP Research for the Verdantix EHS & Risk Management practices. His current agenda focuses on understanding the evolution of EHS and enterprise risk management, evaluating emerging strategic risks and benchmarking technology buyers’ budgets, priorities and preferences globally.