Injury Prevention Analysis for the Safety Manager
The role of the Safety Analyst in Injury Prevention is to serve as an independent voice for a manufacturer or distributor and evaluate the risks of injury associated with the companys products. Free from loyalty to functional or operational groups such as design, manufacturing, marketing or sales, the analyst gathers data, develops a risk assessment and reports findings directly to top management. To accomplish these goals the safety manager must act in six distinct areas.
Corporate Safety Policies
- Develop a mission statement to prevent unreasonable risks of injury,
signed by the CEO and distributed to all employees.
- Use all technically feasible and economically practical safety measures
to substantially reduce or eliminate injuries, and to meet or exceed
all applicable safety standards.
- Create a multi-disciplinary Safety Review Committee to audit product
safety policies and to consider product hazards, the environment of
use and foreseeable consumer behavior.
- Collect and maintain safety related data throughout the product life cycle including technical documents, injury data, complaints/returns, product liability litigation, government analyses and other information concerning the risks of injury.
- Review the inherent capability of the product to create harm through
a transfer of mechanical, thermal, electrical, chemical, biological
or radiation energy.
- Evaluate injury potential and severity through the National Electronic
Injury Surveillance System--NEISS--Severity Index (CPSC) or the Abbreviated
Injury Scale (NHTSA).
- Study intended and foreseeable product use in concert with operator capabilities based on demographics, anthropometrics, educational level, and physical capacity.
- Investigate how injuries occur by reviewing historical data, manuals
and instructions, professional journals and electronic databases.
- Review government injury databases including the National Electronic
Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), the Medical Examiner and Coroners
Action Program (MECAP), the CPSCs Indepth Epidemiological Investigations
(IDI), and the Exposure Studies done by the CPSC.
- Analyze internal corporate safety data on product use including customer complaints, warranty returns, toll free lines, internal intuitive brainstorming sessions, focus groups, surveys, behavioral testing, and computer models.
- Environment of use including weather, family/peers, job stress, location,
ambient conditions, terrain, noise, temperature.
- Promotion - Marketing, advertising, distribution, public relations,
word of mouth, packaging, product form and shape, point of purchase
- Vulnerable population groups such as children, seniors and the disabled,
concerning products that exceed the physical or cognitive capabilities
- Hazard perception of the user includes severity of the injury, likelihood
or frequency of injury, magnitude of the danger, and prior experience
such as familiarity with product operations, lack of prior injury, overconfidence
and first impression of hazards and risks.
- Benefit or value of unintended use including time savings, ease of operation, overcoming poor performance and peer group acceptance.
- Eliminate the hazard to remove the inherent capability to do harm,
or if not possible, place a physical barrier, guard or interlock between
the product hazard and the user.
- Warn the user of the danger and motivate them to avoid injury using
the ANSI Z535 format for signal words, hazard, pictorials, instructions,
and statements of consequences.
- Promote safety education including safety alerts, injury data, training, owners manuals, point of purchase displays.
- Analysts must monitor the safety performance of products by systematic
collection of injury data and other consumer use.
- When an unreasonable risk is identified, modify future production
and initiate a recall applying appropriate safety measures to repair,
replace, or repurchase the defective or non-complying products.
- Public notice includes direct mail, service bulletins, public media,
paid advertising, dealer notice, point of sale posters.
- Government requirements include Substantial Product Hazard procedures for Consumer Products in homes, schools, and recreation areas, Defect Notification for Motor Vehicles and Equipment such as child safety seats, and Market Withdrawal and Recall Policies for Foods, Drugs and Medical Devices.