• Amanda Kruse
    I hope this finds you all well!

    I was wondering, in your experience, what sort of ratios of near miss to minor injury to lost time injury do you see?
    I know that we have a lot of work to do around incident reporting and in the last month, I have had one minor injury, 2 MTIs and 2 LTIs. With a functional reporting culture, how many near misses or minor injuries would you expect to see for every MTI/LTI?

  • Rowly BrownAccepted Answer
    That depends on the nature of your workforce, your industry, and whether staff see the value in reporting the "small" stuff. Everybody needs a "why" to report (in fact to do anything!), i.e. there is a logical and valuable reason to that makes sense to them. If their "why" doesn't compel them they are unlikely to do it. Things don't get reported just because there is a "rule" that says they should. Most damaging events (people, property/equipment, environment damage) are fairly random occurrences. Severity can also be fairly random. Look at the minor injury events (or investigate them) and ask yourself "could the outcome / severity have been any worse"? Did an investigation of the more serious events disclose that there had been a number of prior events that could have had a similar outcome?

    Assuming you drive a vehicle, your experience at that might give you insight into the number of "close calls", minor dings, big dings, major prangs you have experienced or seen in your time driving. Some people have the misfortune to experience the major prang as their first one, and it's the only one they will ever have!

    Regardless of your philosophy / belief system relating to accident causation and accident / incident ratios, numbers of minor damage events exceed numbers of major damage events over time by some margin. actual ratios are not especially important in my view. What is important is that every event warrants an initial level of inquiry to assess whether the potential was greater than the actual outcome. You go from there.

    If you would like to discuss the concept in more detail, contact me directly.
  • Amanda Kruse

    Hi Rowly,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment.
    I'm quite familiar with the concepts and constantly reinforcing with our team (who work in construction) the "why" of reporting. Our level of reporting has doubled in the last year and we has seen a range of incident reports - from safety observation to lost time injury.

    This has dropped off in the last month and I was looking for a comparison on how many near miss/minor injury I would expect to see for every MTI or LTI - moreso to highlight the drop in reporting in a toolbox talk and share a reminder why reporting is important. Our team seem to react well when I provide stats comparing our performance to industry standard and also sharing stats from Worksafe.

    Thanks again.
  • Rowly Brown
    Hi Amanda. ACC can provide industry stats regarding total recorded claims, earnings-related claims, treatment claims for your business. They certainly have them. They form the basis of Experience rating. You could make contact with your ACC Account Manager and ask for your company's claims stats. They will provide you with that, if they haven't already. They compare your claims over a 3 year period with the industry average. With that information you could compare your year by year claims lodged with ACC, and if there is significant fluctuation, present the stats to your team and ask for their explanations for why that might be. Maybe you are doing things that are influencing behaviours, maybe controls of hazards has improved, maybe the environment has changed, the nature of work has changed, technology has impacted, or there have just been less events. I'm sure you will get a few team members willing to offer a theory. Good luck!
  • Mike Massaar
    51% of our incidents over last 12 months have been near misses or unsafe acts. We'd love more.

    As you know it's more about what you should aim for. Heinrich's pyramid (some 90 years old now!), and the modified Bird pyramid is a good start. Even though there is a lot of debate around these and in particular the numbers they use, the principles in my view are sound. The more reported near misses the merrier - they are free lessons after all. If your organisation can get around the negative view that reporting incidents is a failure rather than an opportunity, and people truly see the benefits of near miss reporting, then it will improve. We found a significant increase in near miss / unsafe act reporting once we campaigned on the benefits. Every couple of months we share incident learnings across the organisation, and the last report showed that all of our learnings were from near miss / no injury incidents as these were the high risk potential incidents over that period, something we would not have found a few years ago.
  • Aaron Marshall
    Numbers quoted for the Aviation Industry are for every accident there are 30 near-misses, and 600 minor incidents (or opportunities to identify and prevent the incident)
  • KeithH

    Heinrich's Triangle and Bird's Triangle are both from two eras when systems and methods were of lesser importance than human actions. They came from times when labour was cheaper than machinery. The ratios are based on outcomes rather than cause.
    Minds immeasurably superior to mine have analysed Heinrich and Bird -

    No doubt YMMV. My mileage aims to avoid the blame game that the triangles Heinrich and Bird proposed.

    Near miss and unsafe acts are - at best - lag indicators. Lost Time Injury statistics tend to be incorporated into LTIFR and TRIFR, both of which can be manipulated by what statistics are used (and what are not) and which multiplier (200,000 or 1,000,000) is used.

    TRIFR and LTIFR have little influence on assessing the risks of catastrophic events faced by high hazard industries. The Pike River inquiry mentioned this.

    Near miss and unsafe acts are low impact high frequency incidents, neither of which have a serious influence on the cause of critical risks. Critical risks are high impact low frequency incidents which can be measured as both lag and leading indicators. As a lead indicator, likelihood can be reduced with the implementation of controls while the consequence (or outcome) will always remain the same.

    If reducing critical risks is the focus on a business, then priority will – and should be – given to effective controls with regular evaluations of the effectiveness of such systems. For how to get it wrong –

    Just my ramblings.
  • Mike Massaar
    Hmmm, interesting Keith. We have a reasonably mature critical risk programme so are aware these are high impact low frequency, and that near misses and unsafe acts are largely viewed as lag indicators. However my view is that it depends how you use the information. If it's just for reporting then yes, they are a lag. However if you use the information from near misses and unsafe acts to identify weaknesses in the safety system or safety procedures so they can prevent future incidents, they are leading. This is how we see them, hence identifying that some of the best learnings are coming from these near misses. I certainly don't agree that near misses and unsafe acts don't have a serious influence on the cause of critical risk incidents.
  • KeithH
    Hey @Mike Massaar
    Like I said - Your Mileage May Vary.
  • Angela Davies
    Hey Amanda, so I'm in manufacturing now.. and our national Total Injury Rate is about 2.32, our LTI rate is about 0.50
    my region is averaging about 12 incidents a month (mostly not MTI or LTI) and only 12.5 for near miss/hazardous behaviour or conditions. since i've been working her i've been driving this rate up, but it's not fab. BUT we also have monthly "safety behaviours observations" that is compulsory for everyone to do... we usually get between 95-100% completion on those, but they're not included as a number for the leading indicators, and that would drive up our rate. but i just don't have the time to manually enter them all! i wish i did because then our number would be amazing, instead I'm trying to push for our company to electronically complete these so it can be counter. huge company, not a quick change.
    but there is another region. so our Leading indicator number would really be about 150 a month... and people to notice stuff and get it addressed, but they don't formally report it. so frustrating.
    i would say 2 MTI and 2 LTI in a month is high, but is that normal or an anomaly, as we do have months where we have that, then we won't have an LTI for months! so it all averages out.
    Construction is traditionally a higher rate industry though. I also work hard to get everyone back to work on alternative duties instead of off at home, to drive down LTI rate and to help with their mental wellbeing etc.
    hope that helps some. I'm sure you're doing a lot of positive work on improvement there though! you've gotta take the small wins, and look at your trends, it takes a LONG time to drive culture in the right direction and change behaviour. :)
  • Aaron Temperton
    Hi Amanda
    If you are not familiar with it I recommend that you have a look at a Nicole Rosie presentation on You Tube from when she was the CE of WorkSafe. Its title is "Rebuilds health and safety achievements as well as critical risk".
    You might find this illuminating and relevant to your enquiry - or not.
    Best wishes
  • Les Hogbin
    Totally agree with points made Mike, if you can look at each near miss as an opportunity to improve (lead indicator) you can in effect alter the traditional triangle and reduce the chance of these near misses leading to a serious event. Interestingly the department we have on site with the most near misses is the safest! My experience is for caution with incident/accident figures and comparisons as such a wide variation between industries. Some benefit between very similar companies in same industry but taking my company as an example, we have a substantial 24/7 foundry using 100% recycled materials...other foundries but not much similar. I did get some bench marking data from the manufacturers association for our cnc operations but believe not repeated. I found ACC not very helpful since i believe individual case managers not now part of their systems.
  • Chris Peace
    Hi all,
    I remember discovering the Bird & Loftus book in the 1980s.
    Wow! the triangle answered so many problems. Armed with it I could save lives and clients would love me!
    More recently (five years ago) I've thought critically about the Bird triangle and accident ratios. Please read the attached and tell me if you think we can use ratios and triangles.
    I've updated the note and it now forms part of my teaching at Victoria University of Wellington.
    Bird Loftus ratio study (168K)
  • MattD2
    Please read the attached and tell me if you think we can use ratios and triangles.Chris Peace
    Something that I find curious, but seems to have been greatly overlooked, when discussing Heinrich's Triangle is the fact that this concept/theory was developed while Heinrich was working for an insurance company and what influence this had on his research. It wouldn't be out of the realms of possibility that the findings and recommendations for improving industrial safety from his research were not actually in relation to improving occupational health and safety but in reducing the actuarial risk if his employer? i.e. it is better focus on how to reduce the vary common lower value insurance payouts for equipment damage and minor injuries rather than trying to prevent the uncommon catastrophic incidents (for which we have already somewhat managed the actuarial risk by having a maximum payout cap included in the policy).
  • KeithH
    Please read the attached and tell me if you think we can use ratios and triangles.Chris Peace
    In the NZ construction industry I don't worry about Heinrich's and Bird's triangles. My focus is on critical risks - these are the things that keep me awake at night. I sleep through anything less.
  • Chris Peace
    I'm very glad the construction industry doesn't worry about the triangles.
    Yes, Heinrich (and Bird) worked in the insurance industry and got their data from reports filed by clients.
    It is easy to overlook the difference that technology has made to our lives. In the 1930-1990 period computerisation of OHS data was generally not practicable. Computers did not exist or were too expensive and mostly used for the "important" financial analyses. Things are different now. The computer I'm writing this on may have more power than NASA had for the whole space programme in the 1960s.
    But one problem remains - the willingness of workers to report incidents, regardless of their outcomes. That is exacerbated by subsequent access to the "data capture system" and limitations imposed by the categories it uses that we (the authors of the system) impose on the reporters. The longer the time between event and reporting, the more the event will have become "unforeseeable" leading to the need to adjust the facts. That can also be exacerbated by fear of the event being investigated. And that the reporter may be a manager, not the victim. Whose story is correct?
    Last night I started updating my teaching materials for 2022 and read chapter 4 in Sydney Dekker's book "Foundations of Safety Science". The chapter is worth a read. It nicely skewers ideas about ratios.
    PS: Critical risks often get so much attention that minor risks can eventuate and cause major damage.
  • KeithH
    But one problem remains - the willingness of workers to report incidents, regardless of their outcomes.Chris Peace

    My observations of the construction industry is perhaps the issue lies in business management and culture rather than H&S.
    I can't speak for other industries or what happens overseas but my impressions are that here in NZ the construction industry has a pronounced lean to command and control. IMHO this is contrary to the 3Cs, engagement by workers, and H&S reps and committees. Most H&S is driven by management to achieve the outcomes they perceive so onus of responsibility shifts further down the pecking order.

    And it is my observation that incidents go unreported by workers because it 'interferes' with production and/or completing notification is convoluted and time-consuming. Also, workers tend to either report what their boss wants to hear or not report so any blame or trouble is avoided.
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