Document Detail

Title: IR321-2 - Guide to Precursor Analysis for Construction Fatalities
Publication Date: 10/1/2016
Product Type: Implementation Resource
Status: Tool
Pages: 34
Introduces a newly-formed precursor analysis method that aims to prevent high-impact, low-frequency (HILF) safety events in the construction industry. Provides a precursor analysis tool that individuals with base-level construction safety experience can use with teams in the field prior to the start of high-energy work to successfully foresee high-energy management outcomes at a statistically significant rate, potentially halting work before a predicted HILF event could occur.
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CII Research Team 321 (RT-321) produced this guide to help industry practitioners implement a newly-formed precursor analysis method to prevent high-impact, low frequency (HILF) safety events in the construction industry. Such events, often involving high-severity injuries and fatalities, occur on an infrequent basis. However, unlike less severe injuries, the fatality rate has remained stagnant in recent years, defying the corrective efforts of even mature organizations with strong safety cultures.
Heinrich’s Pyramid Theory remains an often-cited model used in the description of injury experience. Unfortunately, this theory has led to a belief that less-severe events and fatalities are linked, which promotes expectations that improvement in the former will positively influence the latter. However, contemporary data contest this notion, and many high-performing organizations continue to experience fatal or near-fatal events. The current body of knowledge has thus far proven insufficient, and current prevention tools have proven ineffective.
The overall goal of RT-321 was to address the following essential questions: Are there precursors to HILF events on construction projects? If so, what are they, and how can they be identified, analyzed, and used in a predictive fashion in order to prevent the occurrence of HILF events? The team aimed to develop a predictive tool that would be used before work begins or while the work is being performed for relatively quick assessment of key work characteristics, personnel, plans, and environmental factors.

RT-321 completed a multi-phase research project that involved the following activities:
  1. reviewing literature, conducting root cause analyses of historic fatality cases, and undertaking research team brainstorming to generate a comprehensive list of potential factors that may be observed in a leading fashion and contribute to HILF events
  2. analyzing more than 500 past injuries to define “high energy” (i.e., the quantity of energy that can lead to a fatal incident) and provide guidance regarding when to implement the precursor analysis program
  3. creating a comprehensive protocol to collect information on these factors from case scenarios via a field-implementable questionnaire
  4. collecting data from fatal incidents, high-energy near misses, and successful cases of high-energy management
  5. conducting an experiment to assess the predictive validity of the precursor analysis program with experts from RT-321
  6. conducting statistical analyses of the cases collected, to validate empirically the precursor analysis tool and to reduce its length to only essential factors
  7. testing the precursor analysis tool by using less-experienced investigators with modest industry experience.