In the movie Groundhog Day, weatherman Phil Connors (played by Bill Murray) is forced to relive the same day, over and over again, no matter how he tries to change the outcome. The Environmental, Health and Safety Newsletter recently compared the latest release of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries with previous years and observed a similar phenomenon.
The article notes, "The latest census is remarkably consistent with the previous reports. People continue to die in numbers, proportions and circumstances much as they did the year before, and the year before that and the year before that. There are a lot of Groundhog Days in how we're getting killed on the job." Even worse is the fact that these factors are no secret. "The same hazards keep killing workers," the article continues. "What's most likely to kill someone is not a trick question. It's an open-book exam."
If something as critical as lowering workplace deaths can get trapped in an endless cycle of no progress, it shows just how immovable some of these challenges can be. Lack of desire or effort isn’t always to blame.
How the right RMIS can help break the cycle
Trying to move the needle on metrics that never seem to budge, regardless of the resources expended, can lead to resignation and acceptance of problematic conditions as just "the way things are." Many of these challenges, however, simply require a new approach. With the right technology, your organization can finally move past Groundhog Day.
Near Miss Reporting
In previous articles, we have chronicled some of the reasons why changing a safety culture faces considerable odds. Cumbersome reporting processes and fear of reprisals top the list of contributors to lack of progress. The article Using RMIS technology to improve incident and near miss reporting explains how to mitigate these constraints and see results:
The National Safety Council (NSC) resource on developing near miss reporting suggests, "Make the reporting system easy to understand and use." Anonymous, customized forms allow your organization to collect only the information required (shorter forms = more submissions), and tailor the instructions and labels to fit each location, role, or business unit. Forms should be designed so that workers capture information quickly and return to their job right away. In addition to simple, customized, anonymous forms, organizations can create lasting change with reporting that connects leadership with analysis on what works, auditing tools that track compliance and training efforts, and technologies like mobile apps and sketch diagrams that collect better, more detailed data. Taken together, these tools provide your organization with the direct feedback required to make strides in implementing a near miss culture.
While most organizations recognize the power of analytics and understand how incorporating a data-driven strategic process is essential to long-term success, the path to get there can lead to frustration with false starts and wasted effort. The Data Driven Risk Manager notes how few companies are able to make that leap:
In the article Big Companies Are Embracing Analytics, But Most Still Don’t Have a Data-Driven Culture, the authors cite the results of this year’s annual New Vantage Partners survey on data issues. "Virtually all respondents (99%) say their firms are trying to move in that direction, but only about one-third have succeeded at this objective. This gap appears every year in the surveys, and the level of success hasn’t improved much over time." The appearance, every year, of the same gap between those who want to move toward a data-powered culture, and the 1-in-3 who actually manage to get there is an indicator of how difficult this challenge is. There are ways to increase those odds, including:
- Adopting the "ERM Mindset" – aligning reporting with strategic objectives
- Utilizing a single source of data – creating the essential "big picture" view
- Democratizing data – getting critical data to/from where it matters
- Focusing on leading indicators – looking forward, not backward
The real power embedded in analytics lies not in the data itself, but rather in its ability to trigger the right conversations. This is where real change is born. A RMIS that helps you cut through the noise and spark those strategic, data-based discussions is a key part of turning analytics into more than a buzzword.
The ability of audits to drive progress is well known. As highlighted in Best-in-class safety audit tips, however, unless following best practices, the results may not be inspiring:
According to the Aberdeen Group research report "Simplifying the Audit and Inspection Process to Improve Safety," companies using best-in-class audit procedures saw a 13% decrease in regulation citations, while all others saw a 1% increase. Origami Risk’s audit solution addresses key challenges identified in the research and provides users with the tools required to realize success. Those not following best practices experience regular, Groundhog Day-like increases in regulatory citations, while those armed with the right technology can drive that metric down by 13%. Keys to audit best practices include:
- Ease of use – streamlined processes encourage greater participation
- Mobility – mobile forms collect data directly from the field
- Automation – best-in-class organizations are 54% more likely to automate the audit process
In addition to making the audit process itself easier and in line with best practices, cloud-based RMIS solutions such as Origami Risk can also help you make sure your organization is actually using the valuable data it collects.
Escaping Groundhog Day — an example
At the 2018 Origami Risk User Conference, clients presented directly to other attendees, sharing ways they had found to break out of the status quo. The conference featured several presentations outlining how clients were able to finally affect their own immovable metrics:
One client presenter related how they tied an incentive structure to a new audit process and saw a 15% reduction in claims—estimated to have saved the organization over $1.5M. Faced with claim numbers that stubbornly refused to budge, this particular client connected the power of a best-practice audit process with a revised incentive structure and was able to escape the cycle.
These are only a few of the ways the right RMIS can help you break the repetitive cycles that initially seem impossible to overcome.