July 26, 2007 | Mark Paradies

What is a SIGNIFICANT Increase in UK Construction Industry Fatalities?

Of course, on a personal level, every fatality is a tragedy. That’s why I wrote the article titled Stop the Sacrifices back in 2004. It caused a lot of controversy then but I still stand by the points I made.

However, today I’d like to look not at the personal tragedy side of the fatalities but rather at the statistical analysis of the fatalities.

A recent article in the Safety & Health Practitioner (a publication of IOSH in the UK) said:

“Fatalities in the construction industry last year leaped by 25 per cent, prompting calls for the HSE to abandon its influencing and informing approach and instead beef up enforcement in the industry.”

Later in the article it said:

“… deaths in construction this year significantly exceeded the record low of 59 in 2005/06.”

The question is, what is a “SIGNIFICANT INCREASE” in these statistics?

Since 2005/2006 was a record low, was the 25% increase just returning to historical levels? Was the 2005/2006 statistics a fluke – just blind luck? Another part of the article stated that the construction industry was booming. That presents a new questions:

“What were the deaths per 200,000 hours worked?”

People who have taken our Advanced Trending Techniques Course know that these type of statistics are often misused. They also know how to correctly analyze them. If you would like to be able to detect real signals from your safety data and avoid reacting to the noise (random variation) that exists in any statistics, plan to attend the 2008 advanced trending course that will be held in Las Vegas on June 23-24, 2008. You will learn to make sense out of the numerical chaos.

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