Journey to Zero: A Guideline to an Injury-Free Workplace

Janelle Badanes
Janelle Badanes
-Jan 13, 2022

As someone who has come from several manufacturing environments, in various industries, I’ve always viewed the ‘Journey to Zero’ as something that can be completed and maintained with the right kind of controls in place. I firmly believe that the only way for this to be possible is to predict incidents before they occur; in other words, being PROactive versus REactive.

Most people in the EHS industry hear the term “Injury Free Workplace” and imagine one of two scenarios:

  1. A fully automated, no person, system where employees are removed from the equation by design.
  2. A workplace where everything is controlled and bombarded with detailed, prescriptive procedures.

The leading indicators that most health and safety departments use are heavily biased, qualitative in nature. For example, a company’s Behavioral Based Safety Program only captures what is reported. And what is reported is most likely biased and qualitative… but somehow this data is still being used to determine company safety initiatives, how to allocate capital funding, and strategic decision making for future safety programs. How can an organization strategically plan and allocate necessary resources without the information needed to make the right decisions?

The implementation of conventional safety methods and practices have helped to mitigate these pitfalls, but at the same time, have only taken the industry so far. Standardizing work procedures, incentive programs, and risk management has taken us close to zero injuries, but we are seeing a plateau. The industry is now looking at different ways to engage by re-deploying safety culture and behavioral programs. Instead, what if we shift our focus to obtaining leading indicator data that will equip a company with the information needed to prevent an injury, without compromising worker’s privacy?

Industry leaders are looking inward to improve and refine existing EHS practices. The problem with this logic is that it brings you back into the vicious circle of “what have we tried before?” and “let’s try it again but do it better.” To fully realize the notion of “Injury Free,” something novel is needed. Something different. Something that can truly complete the journey and predict an injury before it occurs. The answer: Artificial Intelligence that can see the previously unseen.

Let’s walk through a potential example of how things are today:

EHS employees often measure effectiveness by a competency test, but imagine you train your workforce with 100% passing ergonomic lifting training. You then look at your dashboard to see only 60% of the time your employees are using the correct lifting technique the following weekwould you consider the training effective? There needs to be more, and intenseye is exactly that. It’s that extra measure that humans can’t achieve alone.

It’s not relinquishing control – it’s gaining it.

Human beings like to believe that we are unpredictable in nature, but human behavior is more akin to following patterns. All injuries in the workplace have leading indicators and/or measurable signs that can highlight the likelihood of an injury. These cannot be tracked with the programs set in place today – humans can only see so much when facilitating near miss reporting and behavioral observation programs. Intenseye’s A.I model applies computer vision, in addition to what is already being done, to help see and track these indicators that the human eye misses. You can see an incident in real-time, but you cannot see patterns occurring with once-a-day reporting. When companies integrate intenseye’s AI safety platform to a worksite, it then becomes possible to give EHS professionals access to 24/7 unbiased quantitative data that is desperately needed to predict injuries before they occur.

-David Lemon, Customer Success Manager, intenseye

(formerly HSE Advisor & EHS&S specialist in manufacturing)
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