When catastrophe strikes, we look for a signal in the noise - anything that might explain the chaos that we see all around us and bring order to the world again." ? Nate Silver, The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - But Some Don't
The latest corporate buzzword is "Big Data." Thus, you cannot open a business journal without seeing the phrases big data, business intelligence and predictive analytics. Big data is often solely associated with managing large amounts of diverse data. But more accurately, big data is about asking new types questions, exploring hunches, and making data-driven decisions. Business intelligence and analytics will be a part of everyone's jobs, if it is not already. And, there is no better area in organizations that could benefit more from using business intelligence, than our safety departments. The safety field collects a plethora of safety intelligence from training records to safety observations. Unfortunately, this critical safety intelligence is often not used, miss-used, or just plain ignored.
In the past several years the buzzword in the safety has been leading indicators. Safety Professionals have long been searching for true leading indicators of a great safety culture, but has generally been frustrated identifying, tracking and acting upon these "golden eggs." Furthermore, the safety professional faces the seemingly insurmountable task of creating and maintaining a safety culture though varying conditions, ever changing employee and increasing schedule demands. One common method of collecting leading indicators and assessing the safety culture is through the use of safety audits, inspections and/or observations. Although quite commonly done, many organizations struggle getting quality data and then using their observation intelligence to predict, prevent and eliminate serious injuries and/or death on the job.