Product safety issues have the potential to affect large numbers of people at work and in the community. A single design flaw will be replicated many times and product recalls are costly and rarely recover anything more than a small proportion of defective products. At the same time, media coverage of product safety issues causes immense reputational and economic damage whilst causing significant anxiety amongst users. Recent high-profile cases in the automotive, aviation and built environment sector highlight the issue further.
Aims and objectives
HSE’s Corporate Operational Intelligence System (COIN) was used for this project. A subset of COIN was created by a data scientist by simply searching for the phrase ‘product safety’ within records. For the relevant records, free text was downloaded for both entries in the database itself and document attachments. For product safety records there is minimal coded information present, so the bulk of any value would need to be extracted from the unstructured text.