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What are SIFs and PSIFs: 3 Tips for Preventing Serious Injuries at Work

What are SIFs and PSIFs: 3 Tips for Preventing Serious Injuries at Work

Did you know that many companies are now putting more emphasis on preventing serious injuries and fatalities (or SIFs for short) at the workplace?

Although total recordable injury rates have decreased over time, work-related fatalities remain a concern. For nearly thirty years, workplace data has shown total recordable injury rates have more rapidly decreased than work-related fatalities (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021a, 2021b).

To address this issue, many organizations have started implementing SIF-PSIF programs that track and analyze near-miss incidents that could have resulted in serious injury or fatality (PSIF) as a leading indicator.

Let’s explore what SIF and PSIF are, how they can be avoided, and provide you with three helpful tips to prevent them. Let’s get started!

What is an SIF?

An SIF is a serious injury or fatality. According to the Campbell Institute, a serious injury is “a permanent impairment or life-altering state, or an injury that, if not immediately addressed, will lead to death or permanent or long-term impairment.”

The terminology was developed in the mid to late 2000s when several industry groups started looking at why fatalities weren’t declining as fast as less serious injuries.

This is a lagging indicator, as this is something that is logged after the event has occurred.

Lagging Indicators vs. Leading Indicators

Most safety data can be put into one of two categories: leading indicators and lagging indicators.

Lagging Indicators

Lagging indicators use data points like Incidents Management and Root Cause Analysis to take a look at past performance and identify what needs improvement.

Leading Indicators

Leading indicators use predictive measurements, like Near near-miss reports and job safety analysis, to prevent future accidents and injuries.

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What is a PSIF?

A PSIF is a potential serious injury or fatality. Back to our friends at The Campbell Institute, a PSIF is a “near-miss incident that could have resulted in a serious injury or fatality if not for certain barriers or countermeasures.”

These are often high-risk situations where control measures are absent, ineffective or not complied with, and would potentially result in a fatality or serious injury if allowed to continue. 

PSIF is a leading indicator. And a great one to measure. 

No matter how low a company’s incident rate is, their workers could still be in danger. That’s why a high PSIF count is a big deal – it means uncontrolled hazards are lurking in the safety program that could lead to a major accident. By taking steps to prevent PSIF incidents, you can ensure that your workers are safe and your organization is prepared to avoid disasters.

Three SIF and PSIF Prevention Tips

Develop a Communication Plan

Your communication plan helps to make sure that everybody understands the importance of SIF prevention.

Leaders can start by shifting the focus of safety meetings from OSHA recordables to identifying injuries that have the potential to lead to SIFs. Asking workers if they have all they need to do their jobs safely and without any hazards can lead to more meaningful conversations about safety. By thinking beyond near misses and non-fatal injuries, we can identify the most severe risks and take steps to prevent SIFs.

Track and Analyze Data

Data should be a big part of an organization's SIF prevention efforts.

The second tip to prevent SIFs is to track and analyze data to identify areas of PSIF risk in your organization. One way to do this is to review past incidents and near-misses that have the potential to lead to SIFs. Safety teams can also gather observational data in the field, talk to workers about their experiences, and train them to create detailed incident reports. This creates a rich pool of data for your organization to find potential risks and take proactive measures to prevent SIF incidents.

Monitor and Act on Results

Monitor the results of your efforts and make changes or improvements as necessary to ensure that SIF risk is actually being reduced.

The final tip for preventing SIFs is to act on the lessons learned from your SIF prevention plan. You may also want to reevaluate the PSIF metrics you’re tracking and identify additional sources of data for your PSIF metrics. Check if corrective actions are being followed and if they’re mitigating hazards and reducing SIF risk. This helps to close the loop on the process and provides checks of the system.

Take a Data-Driven Approach to Safety

The Campbell Institute states, “The best foundation for leading indicators is a rigorous EHS management system. Further, a systematic approach focused on risk often results in designing and implementing more effective controls. Without effectively identifying risk, an organization cannot take appropriate action to reduce injuries or prevent SIFs from occurring.”

KPA Flex simplifies data visualization and reporting, giving users easy access to actionable insights into their EHS program performance. Your data is presented in real-time, so no delay or extra steps are required to access the information. The dashboards are configured based on features tailored to your business’s unique requirements, giving you the power to make informed decisions that impact workplace safety.

Visualize EHS Program Data

With KPA EHS data and analytics, you can view metrics, top issues, and compliance percentages in a single view. Our data visualization allows you to capture metrics based on existing client application configurations (no out-of-the-box static reports) and drill down into detailed reports to see more granular underlying data. You can filter your KPA EHS data to quickly identify trends and risk indicators by location or group from training reports.

Generate Flexible Reports 

KPA EHS allows you to export reporting data for use in spreadsheet applications or other reporting programs and quickly develop executive-level summaries and reports. Easily share reporting data to encourage all employees to stay committed to safety.

Improve Overall Safety Performance

Use the insights provided by KPA EHS reporting to implement ongoing safety program improvements with data-driven decision-making and a view into leading indicators where potential problems could arise. Our reporting features give you greater confidence that your EHS data is current and accurate.

Let KPA show you how to take a data-driven approach to safety.


About The Author

Toby Graham

Toby manages the marketing communications team here at KPA. She's on a quest to help people tell clear, fun stories that their audience can relate to. She's a HUGE sugar junkie...and usually starts wandering the halls looking for cookies around 3pm daily.

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