Evaluating the performance and accuracy of incident rate forecasting methods for mining operations

Jason C. York, Jeremy M. Gernand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The potential benefits of a safety program are generally only realized after an incident has occurred. Resource allocation in an organization's safety program has the imperative task of balancing costs and often unrealized benefits. Management can be wary to allocate additional resources to a safety program because it is difficult to estimate the return on investment, especially since the returns are a set of negative outcomes not manifested. One way that safety professionals can provide an estimate of potential return on investment is to forecast how the organizations incident rate can be affected by implementing different resource allocation strategies and what the expected incident rate would have been without intervention. This study evaluates forecasting methods used to predict incidents against one another against a common definition of performance accuracy to identify the method that would be the most applicable to use as part of a safety resource allocation model. By identifying the most accurate forecasting method, the uncertainty of which method a safety professional should utilize for incident rate prediction is reduced. Incident data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) was used to make short- and long-term forecasts. The performance of each of these methods was evaluated against one another to ascertain which method has the highest level of accuracy, lowest bias, and best complexity-adjusted goodness-of-fit metrics. The double exponential smoothing and auto-regressive moving average (ARMA) statistical forecasting methods provided the most accurate incident rate predictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041001
JournalASCE-ASME Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems, Part B: Mechanical Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Safety Research
  • Mechanical Engineering


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