Introduction

Today's Safety Programs Maintain - But Don't Reduce - Fatal and Life-Altering Injury Rates

As much of the workforce shifts toward remote or hybrid working environments to safeguard workers from emerging hazards, core industries like construction, manufacturing, and agriculture rely on safe, structured field or factory environments to thrive.

The COVID-19 pandemic surfaced the need for rapid digital transformation in industries that are historically reliant on paper-based plans. Officials from OSHA have proposed that core industries will benefit from the smarter, faster insights available through digital safety management tools. However, no regulatory agency requires adoption of a specific type of safety management system.

Fatal incidents

2020 4,764
2010 4,690

While recordable workplace incidents have been on a steady decline, workplace fatalities and life-altering incidents have held relatively steady, with 4,764 fatal incidents recorded in 2020 and 4,690 recorded in 2010 (BLS).

To prevent lost time and catastrophic injuries, companies need an established safety program that not only adheres to OSHA guidelines but, in many industries, surpasses them. To implement their programs, employers leverage a combination of digital and paper-based systems.

While tools and technologies for worker productivity have advanced across many labor-intensive industries, the wider approach to worker safety hasn't.

So how should companies adjust their safety programs?

For this study, we asked 601 workers across the construction, industrial, manufacturing, and agriculture sectors to share their level of knowledge regarding their personal safety at work and their company’s safety practices in order to evaluate how digitization impacts safety programs in safety-critical workplaces.

1

The State of Workplace Safety

Effective safety management is central to doing business fairly, lawfully, and competitively. What does it look like across today’s businesses?
Overall, safety is a priority for both companies and workers
55%

of respondents say that their company enforces their safety/risk prevention program very strictly

76%

rate their own compliance with their company's safety program as excellent

Still, many employees feel under-equipped to perform
their jobs safely
68%

say they would like to receive better safety training on protocols related to their jobs

53%

report that, on average, it takes one month or longer to resolve a safety hazard at their business

While others face pressure to bend the rules
4 out of 10

respondents have been pressured to work unsafely in order to complete work faster or to meet a tight deadline

24%

those working in agriculture were 24% more likely than average to say they have been pressured to work unsafely

Workplace incidents and injuries are still commonplace
29%

of employees surveyed said the most recent safety incident at their workplace was within the last month

48%

reported that a worker was injured in the most recent incident

For every incident that occurs, consequences often extend beyond immediate medical and financial impact
49%

say that they have witnessed
their employer treating an injured worker unfairly

37%

say that their employer has concealed a workplace injury from OSHA

2

Evidence for Digitization

Businesses still favor paper forms overall but prefer mobile forms for running routine inspections.
62%
Use Paper

to document safety activities, such as
reporting hazards

32%
Use Dedicated EHS

or safety management software

42%
Use Digital

to run routine field
safety inspections

22%
Use Both

paper or digital


Businesses that rely on paper-only safety documentation run a grave risk of failing to identify and respond to hazards early. Even where paper or Excel-based programs are implemented, extracting actionable data remains a concern.
Digitization doesn't just improve ease of use - the data shows it also decreases workplace incidents
74%
74% of respondents said that there are fewer safety-related incidents since their company's safety program went digital than there were before

And businesses using digital safety tools are more likely to effectively carry out their company's guidelines
82%

of respondents agreed that using mobile/tablet devices improves worker safety

67%

agreed that using mobile/tablet devices decreases risky behavior

95%

agreed that using mobile/tablet devices improves documentation

7/10

respondents said that the digitization of their company's safety program would improve their personal compliance

Employees recognize a need for modernization
72%
Using paper based systems said that the digitization of their company's safety program would improve their team's compliance


The Importance of Digitization in Perspective

Digitization is important but remember—even with the most innovative tools available, a true safety culture requires top-down incentive structures and behavior shifts, so that the welfare of your employees is front-of-mind, regardless of macroeconomic conditions.

Peter Grant
Peter Grant, CEO of Safesite
3

Emergency Action Plans Are Widely Inaccessible

While the majority of companies have an emergency action plan (EAP)
91%

of respondents said that their company has an EAP

66%

of respondents said their EAP is paper-based

Many of these EAPs are less than satisfactory
49%

of surveyed workers said that their emergency action plan is outdated

58%

said that the plan would be cumbersome to access in the event of an actual emergency

If plans are inaccessible/difficult to access for half of workers, then effectively half of the workforce is not prepared for an emergency.
Mobile Apps a Smart Solution for Emergency Preparedness
When it comes to EAPs, workers have some common complaints. The top three changes workers want to see are:
1 48%

More frequent reviews and updates

2 47%

For EAPs to be accessible from anywhere

3 42%

Clearer assignment of roles and responsibilities

The Risk of Resistance to Change

Business leaders and their brokers know that making the move to smartphones and tablets isn't a quick fix for risk management issues, so they often don’t take the leap. However, digitization is not only more effective long-term but it also opens up opportunities to improve every other business process touched by workplace safety.

David Fontain
David Fontain, CEO of Foresight
Conclusion

Effective Risk Management Tech Table Stakes for Success

In 2020, there was one worker death every 111 minutes. How many of the 4,764 lives could have been saved with greater visibility into the risks and the steps being taken to address them? It’s imperative that companies urgently prioritize digitization as a means of prevention in order to reduce or avoid catastrophic and/or fatal incidents.

Through digitization, companies can facilitate behavior change through ongoing engagement, ultimately creating safer work environments and more successful businesses.

Emilio Figueroa
Emilio Figueroa, Chief Insurance Officer of Foresight

"Many business leaders find it tough to change an established corporate culture once habits are formed," says Emilio Figueroa, Chief Insurance Officer, Foresight. "But this mindset limits understanding and accessibility."

In a time where work is increasingly dangerous and fewer workers are entering manual labor-based jobs, digital safety management is no longer a nice-to-have but table stakes for success. But this burden doesn't have to fall on the shoulders of business leadership alone.

"Business leaders and their brokers know that making the move to smartphones and tablets isn't a quick fix for risk management issues, so they often don’t take the leap,” says David Fontain. “However, digitization is not only more effective long-term but it also opens up opportunities to improve every other business process touched by workforce safety. By tying safe work practices to faster premium reduction, Foresight economizes risk management and breaks barriers to business growth."

Digitization isn’t about keeping up with the latest trends, it’s about proactively protecting your best and greatest resource — your employees.

Laura Gomez Thomas
Laura Gomez Thomas, VP of Claims, Foresight
Facilitating Risk Tech Adoption Across the Insurance Value Chain

Workers compensation providers have a vested interest in worker safety. While many carriers supply risk management materials and provide loss control services, few have an adequate understanding of how safety tech implementation (or lack thereof) impacts their policyholders. Insurance innovation will be a tipping point in higher safety technology adoption rates.

"All of our policyholders implement an easy-to-use risk management platform, Safesite, at a pace that makes sense for their business," says David Fontain, CEO of Foresight, a workers compensation insurtech startup. "They typically see improvements within six months, though many businesses report immediate improvements in field accountability, hazard identification, and communication. In just one year, our policyholders have reduced incident frequency by 31% on average."

By tying safe work practices to faster premium reduction, Foresight economizes risk management and breaks barriers to business growth.

David Fontain
David Fontain, CEO of Foresight

There are myriad safety technologies available to business leaders today, from risk management platforms to wearable devices to smart tools and PPE. Companies must determine which tools are most effective for reducing the risks their workers face on the job. Then, they must ensure those technologies are rolled out to the workforce effectively.

We’ve been able to speed adoption by connecting clients with dedicated professionals that guide them through the rollout of their first digital safety program.

Peter Grant
Peter Grant,CEO of Safesite

“Commercial insurance brokers frequently express a desire to streamline their clients’ safety programs,” says Peter Grant, CEO of Safesite, a widely adopted safety management platform and exclusive Foresight partner. “We’ve been able to speed adoption by connecting those clients with dedicated professionals that guide them through the rollout of their first digital safety program. Foresight then rewards engaged businesses with savings upon policy renewal, further incentivizing the proper use of Safesite in the field.”

The pandemic transformed worker expectations around health and safety, and for those that don’t digitize, there’s a lot on the line. But those that do will reap the benefits, including reduced incidents, higher worker retention, decreased costs, and most importantly — lives saved.

logo

About Foresight

Foresight is the first insurtech specializing in commercial coverage for the hard-to-place middle market.

Our mission is to improve every business we underwrite, starting with workplace safety. Foresight wraps innovative risk management technology into every policy, reducing workplace incident frequency by 31% on average and giving policyholders the ability to earn lower premiums.

about
Safesite

About Foresight

award
Safesite is an award-winning risk management platform proven to reduce workplace incident frequency by an average of 31%.

With a patented risk score, Safesite gives Foresight policyholders the ability to demonstrate safety engagement and save on their workers compensation premiums within just one policy term.

Survey Methodology

Foresight Group partnered with a third-party research provider to survey 601 workers across the construction, industrial, manufacturing, and agribusiness sectors. Respondents were concentrated in companies from 100-2500 employees with $500K-$15M in annual revenue.

Employees shared their level of knowledge regarding their personal safety at work and their company's safety practices. The survey was conducted at 95% confidence with a +/- 4% margin of error and saw representation from all 50 states.

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