Regardless of industry, the numbers make clear why a focus on fleet safety is necessary.
- According to the National Safety Council, medically consulted injuries in motor vehicle incidents totaled 4.6 million in 2016.
- Total motor vehicle injury costs—including wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, motor-vehicle property damage, and employer costs—for the year were estimated at $416.2 billion.
- NCCI data shows that, by cause of injury, motor vehicle crashes resulted in the costliest lost-time workers’ compensation claims, averaging $73,559 per claim in 2015 and 2016.
For public entities, when it comes to managing the risks associated with fleets, these numbers are especially concerning. “Fleets are a serious and growing risk management challenge for public entities,” writes Susan Kostro in the Risk Management magazine article Managing Public Sector Auto Risks. “The public sector collectively has the largest vehicle fleet in the United States. With 1.3 million cars and trucks, that sector is even larger than the commercial fleet segment, according to Government Fleet magazine, so the challenges of commercial auto insurance have been particularly hard on public entities.”
As discussed in previous posts, the manufacturing skills gap is a critical risk that demands effective risk management strategies. The real world impacts that can be felt from this risk include:
- Increased wage costs
- Production inefficiencies
- Increased workers’ compensation expenses
- Inability to meet customer demand and potential loss of market share
- Inability to expand
- Decreased R&D effectiveness
In addition to the skills gap, manufacturers face numerous other risks arising from factors that include new regulations, geopolitical shifts, supply chain vulnerabilities, and environmental impacts. Added on top of that are the traditional risks that face all industries such as market risk, disruptive competitors, technology obsolescence, and health/safety risks. Collectively, manufacturers must address a larger number of risks, that change more frequently, and are more interconnected than most industries.
The importance of establishing a near miss culture is clear. The OSHA and National Safety Council Alliance, a cooperative program, puts it this way: “History has shown repeatedly that most loss producing events (incidents), both serious and catastrophic, were preceded by warnings or near miss incidents. Recognizing and reporting near miss incidents can significantly improve worker safety and enhance an organization’s safety culture.” Effective near miss programs can prevent more serious incidents from occurring.
A previous post highlights some of the challenges surrounding this issue. Fear of reprisal or embarrassment, difficulty in the reporting process, and a sense of futility if reports don’t result in tangible changes. Each challenge presents obstacles when trying to establish a near miss culture.
Every seven seconds, a worker is injured on the job, totaling 4,500,000 injuries per year. Astounding statistics. The worst part? Many of these injuries are preventable.
Loss reduction efforts and improvements in safe workplace behavior require the cooperation of everyone in an organization. When incidents and near misses aren’t reported, injuries occur that might have been prevented—at a significant cost to injured employees, their families and communities, and their employers. An effective approach to incident management encourages an expansion in the reporting of incidents and near misses by both workers and their supervisors.
As covered in more detail in a recent post, executives surveyed as part of a 2015 skills gap report published by Deloitte Consulting LLP and the Manufacturing Institute indicated that “maintaining or increasing production levels (in line with customer demand)” was at the top of their list of concerns related to the labor and skills gap in manufacturing.
Given studies showing that younger, less experienced workers are more likely to experience higher rates of injury than their longer-tenured counterparts, as well as those indicating that extended working hours and overtime schedules are often accompanied by a rise in injury hazard rates, manufacturers should also be aware of the potential impact the labor and skills gap can have on workplace safety.