Finding occupational accident patterns in the extractive industry using a systematic data mining approach

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This paper deals with occupational accident patterns of in the Portuguese Extractive Industry. It constitutes a significant advance with relation to a previous study made in 2008, both in terms of methodology and extended knowledge on the patterns' details. This work uses more recent data (2005-2007) and this time the identification of the "typical accident" shifts from a bivariate, to a multivariate pattern, for characterising more accurately the accident mechanisms. Instead of crossing only two variables (Deviation x Contact), the new methodology developed here uses data mining techniques to associate nine variables, through their categories, and to quantify the statistical cohesion of each pattern. The results confirmed the "typical accident" of the 2008 study, but went much further: it reveals three statistically significant patterns (the top-3 categories in frequency); moreover, each pattern includes now more variables (4-5 categories) and indicates their statistical cohesion. This approach allowed a more accurate vision of the reality, which is fundamental for risk management. The methodology is best suited for large groups, such as national Authorities, Insurers or Corporate Groups, to assist them planning target-oriented safety strategies. Not least importantly, researchers can apply the same algorithm to other study areas, as it is not restricted to accidents, neither to safety.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)108-122
JournalReliability Engineering & System Safety
Issue numberNA
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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