The combination of data mining and predictive modeling can help companies reduce injuries on the job and save money, according to a report by Deloitte Consulting that was released last month.
Deloitte dubbed the technology "safety analytics" and said it can help a company focus its safety programs on the biggest hazards and the people who are most at risk.
The concept goes well beyond just looking at injury reports. Predictive modeling "can help identify potential accident sites and victims before incidents occur, allowing companies to put strategies in place that focus on prevention," the report said.
For example, the report cited a national waste management company that improved its safety record after pulling together and analyzing years of data on employees, compensation claims and risk characteristics for its industry.
Reducing injuries not only has social benefits; it can save companies big bucks as well. Workers' compensation claims and other direct costs related to on-the-job injuries total $53 billion annually in the U.S., according to industry estimates.
Safety analytics requires correlating loads of internal personnel data and external information, such as census, crime and demographic statistics. The analysis helps companies "understand not just what situations are most risky, but which particular segments of the workforce are most likely to have accidents in those situations," Deloitte's report said.