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Serious Injuries And Fatalities On Decline In Utilities Industry

For its new report, ISN analyzed more than 20,000 serious injuries and fatalities in the workplace from 2017-2021.

The utilities industry saw a significant and sustained decline in its Serious Injuries and Fatalities (SIF) rate from 2017 to 2021, according to the latest Serious Injuries and Fatalities (SIFs) White Paper from ISN.

Meanwhile, the construction, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, and administrative support & waste management and remediation industries reported the highest SIF rates, according to the report.

For this edition, ISN analyzed more than 94,000 recordable incidents from 2017-2021 which showed more than 20,000 SIFs cases consisting of more than 17,000 hospitalizations, 2,773 amputations, and 677 fatalities.

(Source: Serious Injuries and Fatalities White Paper, ISN)

Highlights from the SIFs report include:

Leading causes of SIFs: Across industries, the leading cause of SIFs over the past five years has consistently been contact with an object or equipment. 2021 shows amputations listed as a top three SIF event, making up 16% of all SIFs for that year, versus 13% in 2018.

SIF rate heavily fluctuates, dropping significantly in 2021: Starting with a baseline in 2017, the SIF rate increased 12% in 2018, decreased 17% in 2019, spiked again in 2020, and sharply declined by 35% in 2021. 2021 showed a decline in both overall count and rate for the first time since ISN has been analyzing SIF data.

Upper extremities are the most affected body part: In past iterations of the SIFs report, lower extremities were the most commonly affected body part. ISN’s most recent analysis shows upper extremities surpassed lower extremities as most affected over the last five years. By identifying the most common type, nature and affected body part within an organization, companies can focus time and resources into mitigating strategies that have the most impact in reducing SIFs.

January emerges as an increasingly dangerous month: A higher number of SIFs continue to be seen during the months of July and August as found in previous SIFs reports; however, the new data now includes the month of January as having elevated cases. This could be attributed to the return of workers after an extended holiday break, with possible factors such as low energy level and morale, lack of focus, and busy schedules increasing injuries on the first days back at work.

Construction, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, and administrative support & waste management and remediation are the four industries with the highest SIF rates.

COVID-19 led to minimal recorded SIFs incidents: COVID-19 related data collected from 2020 to 2021 shows only 37 COVID-19 related cases were classified as a SIF, which resulted in 25 cases involving days away from work and 12 total fatalities. The data shows COVID-19 did not have a widespread impact on SIF rates for many companies.

“As SIFs continue to impact workforces, companies and contractors must regularly collect and analyze SIF-related data and use insights to adjust their strategies to prevent future incidents,” said Brian Callahan, President and Chief Operating Officer at ISN. “Our analysis found that contractors who implemented a Process Safety Management or Hazard Communication Program experienced a 27-29% lower SIF rate, further illustrating the value of insights like these and the support that data-driven tools from ISN provide in helping workers return home safe each day.”

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