Abstract

Recent studies have shown that Serious Injuries are rising at a significant and alarming rate, despite the downward trend for less serious injuries. The increase of 23% for the 31 or more days-away-from-work category is significant. A large proportion of incidents resulting in severe injury occur in unusual and nonroutine work, in non-production activities, and where sources of high energy are present. Causal factors for low probability/high consequence events are seldom represented in the analytical data on accidents that occur frequently. This is recognized by OHSAS 18001. Developing a process that integrates with ISO 14001 greatly simplifies safety management systems.

The experience at Brookhaven was just the opposite of the studies. Ordinary work was resulting in extraordinary injuries. Formal experimental review and work-planning were effective in controlling injuries from nonroutine work. Implementation of a Job Risk Assessment (JRA) process resulted in substantial injury reduction. This paper will present a procedure for Job Risk Assessments developed at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. It uses the JRA process to help determine job requirements, training needs, and development of controls. This process is then documented on a single form showing the risks before and after controls, and identifies the controls necessary for job safety.

Background

Recent studies1 have shown that Serious Injuries are rising at a significant and alarming rate, despite the downward trend for less serious injuries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides a good data source on the trending of lost time cases with days away from work in their reports entitled "Lost-Worktime Injuries and Illnesses: Characteristics and Resulting Time Away From Work." The data for the years 1995 through 2001 show the following with respect to the changes that occurred in the distribution of the total number of lost workday cases reported in each of those years.

  • The decreases in the percentages for the first four days-away-from-work categories are noteworthy

  • For the 11-20 and the 21-30 days-away-from-work categories, the decrease of 1.8% and the increase of 1.6% are not as significant

  • The increase of 23% for the 31 or more days-away-from-work category is significant

In a further study, analyses of over 1000 incident investigation reports, found:
  • A large proportion of incidents resulting in severe injury occur in unusual and nonroutine work, in non-production activities, and where sources of high energy are present. Also, they occur in what can be called at-plant construction operations. At-plant construction encompasses work such as this: A motor is to be replaced. It weighs 800 pounds. It sits on a platform 15 feet above the floor. (The work is to be done by in-house personnel.)

  • Causal factors for low probability/high consequence events are seldom represented in the analytical data on accidents that occur frequently. (Some ergonomics-related incidents are the exception.)

  • Many incidents resulting in serious injury are unique and singular events, having multiple and complex causal factors that may have technical, operational, or cultural origins.

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