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Big data is for safety professionals

The world of health and safety is not lacking in data – it’s drowning in it. We need smart systems that allow us to apply our expertise in the most efficient way possible to keep workers safe. The term ‘big data’ is often tossed around but rarely understood. How many safety leaders fully grasp what big data is, or how it is relevant in the safety industry?

Big data has been defined as “an accumulation of data that is too large and complex for processing by traditional database management tools”. So in fact, it’s not really that innovative! We have been trying to analyse data for centuries, so why the hype?
Well, in order to create really useful leading indicators that can answer more strategic business questions like “Why is this happening?” and “What if these trends continue?” we must move up the analytics pyramid by employing advanced analytics techniques such as statistical analysis and forecasting and extrapolation. It is only then that we can create the forward-looking leading indicators that our leaders outside of safety really want, and are starting to expect.

But it’s not just advanced analytics we need; we need to be delivering predictive analytics and that’s where big data and big data systems come in. We need to be able to delve into our own data, whether structured or unstructured. And, import data from outside the organisation that truly gives the leadership vital future guidance. Big data is not just for geeks!

Featured in Insight (May 2017)