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Development and use of fatality narratives to convey hazard information.

Spielholz P; Clark R; Sjostrom T
Proceedings of the 2006 ASSE Professional Development Conference and Exposition, June 11-14, 2006, Seattle, Washington. Des Plaines, IL: American Society of Safety Engineers, 2006 Jun; :1-6
The Washington Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program is funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) along with 15 other states. The goals of the program are to track acute occupational fatalities in the state, conduct targeted research investigations, and to disseminate findings and educational material. Construction incident Fatality Narratives were developed by the Washington FACE Program with the goal of providing tools for education and conducting training sessions directly with workers and companies. The Fatality Narratives are one-page descriptions of the incident and bullet-point best practice recommendations or requirements that could have prevented the death. The controls are meant to respond to the specific incident, however, they often have application to more general situations such as hazards associated with falling from height. The narratives are developed initially by a research analyst after reviewing case information that includes the industrial insurance report, industry safety inspection investigation and media reports. The document is then completed by a safety engineer who conducts research into possible prevention controls and applicable solutions. The level of research and analysis for narratives is more limited than that of a full fatality investigation, however possible incident root causes including human factors issues, supervisory procedures and communication are evaluated. The resulting narrative is then finalized with input from the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA) program. The Fatality Narratives were developed after an analysis of industry impact potential. Acute work-related fatality data for Washington State was reviewed and it was found that the construction industry consistently had both the highest count and rate by industry on a year-to-year basis. The industry also has opportunities for outreach and dissemination due to an industry focus on safety, particularly in western Washington State. General contractors have focused significant resources on safety and health to reduce costs associated with injury risk and to improve bidding status. A trend in the industry is to not award sub-contracts to companies with higher injury experience factors. This impact on the ability to bid on jobs has provided an impetus for additional companies to provide resources for safety and injury prevention. Additionally, the Puget Sound region has a long history of voluntary construction safety organizations, which makes distributing information and developing contacts much less difficult. One informal organization of construction safety professionals has been meeting for over 50 years, and another is the largest monthly meeting of construction safety personnel in the country. These factors, the high fatality frequency and rate, and the ready avenue for intervention, led to the decision by the Washington FACE Program to develop a Fatality Narrative for every construction fatality in the state.
Accident-prevention; Construction; Construction-industry; Education; Injuries; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Mortality-rates; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Quantitative-analysis; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Safety-research; Statistical-analysis; Training; Traumatic-injuries; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-environment; Worker-motivation; Work-operations; Work-organization; Workplace-studies; Work-practices
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Source Name
Proceedings of the 2006 ASSE Professional Development Conference and Exposition, June 11-14, 2006, Seattle, Washington
Performing Organization
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Page last reviewed: September 25, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division