A safety and health organization in industries is one of the many cogs that make the business profitable. Considering declining trends in the current day economy, a safety engineer can no longer be liberal in investing huge amounts of money in a safety and health program without assurance of return of investment.
Workplace injuries, property/machinery damage and losses are an integral part of any industry andcannot be virtually eliminated. However, the right amount of investment of resources as a result of optimized safety programs, with strategies to reduce incident rates at a minimum possible level of the intervention activities can serve as an excellent business tool for the safety engineer to work with.
In the current study researchers establish a mathematical relationship between the leading indicators (safety program intervention activity levels) and the trailing indicators (incident rates) and explore this relationship to optimize the safety and health program in case of a power company. An optimization problem was set up and the solutions obtained were implemented at this power company for validation. The results obtained are with respect to the data obtained from from company supervisors during the experimental design phase.
A safety and health program is defined as a suite of intervention activities observed at a workplace designed and implemented with the expressed purpose of reducing the occurrence or at least the likelihood of occurrence of labor injuries, property damage or asset losses. These intervention activities include but are not limited to safety/technical training, preventive maintenance, workforce motivation, audits, inspections, hazard analyses and assessments, safety meetings, etc. Literaturereveals that minimal effort had been made prior to 2001, to understand the input/output relationship between incident rates and levels of intervention. Exploring the available literature revealed that except for the study conducted by Haight et al.2001 a & b, there lacks an analytical approach to relate the occurring incidents to the past incidents or the levels of intervention.
Comparative studies done by Cleveland et al 1979 essentially lay out differences between successful and unsuccessful safety programs. These studies chalked out the unique practices observed by successful safety programs. Though these observations help in the design stage of a safety program, the question of how much of effort to apply over time to an intervention activity to obtain a minimum incident rate is not answered by these studies. A statistical study conducted by Guastello 1993, wherein a regression model relating the incident rates and intervention factors was developed, also has drawbacks similar to the case discussed above. This model was used to compare the incident rates prior and subsequent to the application of the intervention program. The study considered the entire safety program as a single intervention.