dataIn risk management, we usually say, the more data the better.  We don’t use crystal balls to predict accidents and we certainly don’t use horoscopes to determine which safety topics to focus on. Instead, we dig into numbers looking for trends. We use data compilations to find anomalies in how employees are working or how machines are being used.  This analysis can only drive results with the ability to collect data. If we can’t collect complete and accurate data, even the best algorithms in the world won’t work to predict trends or detect problems. We can only study what we can see; so those times we aren’t set up to collect information are more than an administrative frustration – they keep us from keeping people safe.

The thing is, in my job, I rely on data from so many groups of people. I get trend forecasts from insurance companies highlighting areas they are concerned with. I get data from others in the same industry through our trade groups. I can spot where regulators, like OSHA or state agencies, will increase their scrutiny by following public hearings. But surprisingly enough, gaining insights from the inner workings of my own company seems to be most challenging.

“Our ability to collect safety information was limited by our systems. For example, our employees weren’t using our incident reporting to capture near misses. And our incident reporting forms were requiring too much from employees; they just gave up on the reports.”

Our company is a regional transportation company with multiple hubs, which makes it even harder to get data from employees.

Even with great data, it’s been hard to get all of our hubs on the same page. Sometimes literally! Even where we ask the union steward or manager to cover specific topics in a safety meeting, we don’t always know who was there or how it went. Trying to track which hub needed training or whether incidents decreased after safety meetings did start to feel like magic, like magic tricks I couldn’t perform.

Modwatch helped me manage my safety meetings so that I could get all my hubs on to the same agenda, see who was invited and track their attendance. I could even, through the application, get feedback on the meeting agendas. But the best part about the Modwatch is that I can use their reports to monitor severity of injuries, where and how employees are getting injured, as well as where safety procedures can be improved. With better data, and easily generated reports, I could show employees how to avoid accidents and where risk was high. Look, we all want our employee to be safe, that’s why people like me have the jobs we do in risk management. With Modwatch, I do more with less time and that does feel like magic.