Introduction

"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

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.

If you look at any recent business newspapers, magazines, or websites, you will most likely find a reference to "Big Data", "Predictive Analytics", or Business Intelligence". As a matter of fact, there has been a 1211% increase in searches focusing on big data within that last few years (Frank, March 2012). Predictive analytics is the study and use of large data sets to predict or forecast. Many people have experienced the power of predictive analytics if they have ever used a Google search, had an item recommended by Amazon based on previous purchases, or has ever bought insurance. Predictive analytics have made it into popular movie such as Money-ball and into bestselling books like Silver's "The Signal and the Noise". Silver's book outlines the many uses of data in our world today. His view is that it is not a matter of gaining enough information; it's a matter of finding the signal within all the noise. Business intelligence and predictive analytics will be a part of everyone's jobs, if it is not already. And, there is no other area in businesses that could benefit more from using "Safety Analytics", than our safety departments.

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