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Reduction of Frequency or Reduction of Severity – What is Your Organization’s Goal? - Part 2

In Part I of this 2-part series, we discussed commonly used strategies that may be used to target Reduction of Frequency.  Specifically; how health and safety management software has encouraged many organizations to refocus and rededicate their current-state EHS training management system.  Also, continuous improvement efforts have greatly enhanced traditional approaches with the digitization of behavior-based safety software applications.  All of these are significant contributors on the path of frequency reduction – but a focus on severity reduction may be approached in an entirely different manner.    

Reduction of severity is sometimes not immediately clear and may broaden as time goes by.  Severity, in a common application is simply used as a basic reference when discussing severe injuries that lead to unusually high medical costs.  However; given the far reaches of social media, Image or Brand-reputation damage is a very credible threat that could lead to loss of business opportunities and/or revenue; regulatory scrutiny and associated fines; and exorbitant legal costs.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the deep-reaching impact of a workplace fatality.  Remember that TRIR mentioned in Part I?  Well… now that comes into play and affects Workers Compensation insurance ratings and your Experience Modification Rate (EMR), which are used by insurance companies to gauge both past costs of injuries and future risk exposure.  The lower the EMR of your business, the lower your worker compensation insurance premiums may be based on lower risk.  Simply put - a business’ direct ability to earn revenue and its ability to operate at lower cost levels than its’ competitors are directly threatened!  From a business resilience perspective, this severity issue has gained the attention of the senior executives and must be the established priority of all efforts!   

When an organization is confronted by higher insurance rates as direct result of risk exposure, efforts may lean towards Job Hazard Assessments.  A robust JHA software will provide a formal approach to job hazard identification, analysis, corrective actions, and risk ratings.  This is a tried-and-true technique that focuses on job tasks to identify hazards before they occur.  By focusing on the worker, the job task, the tools, and the work-environment relationship, proper work procedures are established.  This approach has proven to result in fewer worker injuries and illnesses; safer, more effective work methods; reduced workers’ compensation costs; and increased worker productivity.  Additionally, the analysis can be a valuable tool for training new employees in the steps required to perform their jobs safely.   

While frequency reduction or severity reductions may differ in approach and methods, they both will yield appreciated outcomes.  A common risk control adage calls attention to the fact that “frequency breeds severity”; basically - the more injuries/illnesses you have, the better chance that one soon will be severe in nature.  Remember to always involve your employees and encourage open communication as their input is critical in your organizations injury and illness prevention programs and safety-culture.  Here at ProcessMAP, we have dedicated 17+ years in designing an industry-leading safety and risk assessment software that can assist any organization in mitigating frequency or severity risk exposures.  Contact us today to learn more about our suite of products and how they can help keep your workers safe, no matter the goal.

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