Predictive Analytics – Why excel just won’t cut it.
Through my time working in safety I am astonished that organizations still use excel as a means of managing and analyzing their safety data. Just the other week, I was speaking with a safety director of one of the largest general contracting firms in the U.S. and he was walking me through his weekly process of completing inspections for each job site. As he collect the information each day, he would gather his forms and then on Friday of each week he spends most of the day simply entering that data into a excel spreadsheet. I was blown away.
Not only was this a huge waste of time but even worse was that nothing really ever came from that data he was collecting. With all the affordable technology available today, there is no excuse for using these outdated and ineffective processes.
Take a look around
Many industries are taking advantage of “big data” by performing advanced analysis to generate predictions and forecasts. You may have heard the story about how Target was able to predict that a teen girl was pregnant before her parents knew. While many people see this as a invasion of privacy, this was still an incredible showing of the powerful of data analytics.
These same predictive analytics are now available for safety professionals to predict and prevent workplace injuries. By allowing organizations to gain deep insight into their business they are able to deploy resources in ways that have the greatest impact.
Predictive analytics make use of historical data to identify where potential incidents may occur. Imagine what you can learn by cross referencing data points like workers’ experience and time during a specific job, the last workplace inspection, geographic location, previous safety experience, if there is an injury prevention program or not.
Companies who are taking advantage of this technology are seeing real improvements. For example, a study done by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) showed that companies who took advantage of safety analytics were able to lower total incidents by as much as 95.3% after just one year. It also resulted in just 20 lagging indicator (incidents) data points to analyze while at the same time in 2010, it recorded 8,215 leading indicator (safety inspection) data points to analyze. That’s going from reactive to proactive.
How to get started
You don’t need to be IBM to begin using predictive analytics. No matter the size of the company, collecting data and managing it in modern analytics software will bring huge benefits from time savings to actual incident reduction. I encourage you to take a look at what options are out there. Sospes’ has real-time incident tracking and dashboards. So for my friend at the General Contracting Firm, rather than spending Friday entering his data he spends that time following up and making improvements. Because a true safety program should be constantly improving not monitoring.
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