Injury Trends

01 May Injury Trends

Would you like to know what is causing injuries at work?  The best way to focus your safety efforts is to start by reviewing the workplace injuries from the last few years.  Look at the trends, the things that contribute to injury causes, and prioritize your budget and safety initiatives for next year.

If you use a software program to enter and track work related injuries, viewing your injury trends is a quick and easy task.  Run reports including all injuries, then including lost time only injuries, and sort them by multiple factors.  Sort the reports by date of hire or length of service to see if tenure plays a role.  It is common for newer employees to have more injuries than experienced employees. If this is the case, safety orientation may require more attention.  Let new employees know what the most common causes of injuries are in your business so they can avoid them.  Pair new employees with safe, experienced employees to learn how to do the work properly and safely.  Do a 30 day safety review to make sure they have developed safe habits.

In addition to tenure, sort the injuries by location, by body part, by type of injury, by the task, by age of employee, by sex of employee, by job title, by department, by incurred costs, and any other relevant factor.  You may discover that most of the workplace injuries happened to a specific job group while performing a specific task.  For example, maintenance techs with less than six months on the job were injured most often while working on a ladder.  Then drill down to the details.

Did most of these injuries occur on a specific property? What time of day did most of the injuries take place?  Were they working alone or did they have helpers? Did most of the injuries happen at a certain time of the month or of the year? Was a certain product or task usually involved?

Take all of this information and make some graphs to show the trends.  Use the graphs in your safety meetings to justify the focus for the year.  Track your trends each year to measure your progress in improving the safety program.  The goal of every safety program is to prevent injuries, and past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.


Scott Mastley, SPHR, MBA, is the Vice President of Human Resources for Resource Alliance. Scott is a consultant, not an attorney, so he shares his opinions, not legal advice, about increasing performance and limiting liability.