Graph Neural Networks: The NIXN Approach

In the current landscape of safety management, traditional practices often fall short in capturing the complex, interconnected nature of workplace safety. Standard methods, relying heavily on site-wide checklists, fail to account for the intricacies and interdependencies that define real-world safety scenarios. This oversight has led to a critical gap in safety management—a gap NIXN aims to bridge using the advanced capabilities of Graph Neural Networks (GNNs).

The Limitations of Traditional Safety Data Collection

Traditional safety management systems (SMS) tools often employ generic checklists that, while useful for broad assessments and site governance, overlook the nuanced interactions between various elements within a workplace. This approach produces data that is not only fragmented but also lacks the depth required to understand the complex dynamics at play. Such limitations hinder the ability to predict and prevent safety incidents effectively, as the critical relational data between entities—such as personnel, equipment, and environmental factors—is not captured.

A real-world example of where this approach has shown limitations is in the case of trench collapses. Trench work is one of the most hazardous construction operations, and while a checklist might confirm the presence of shoring or trench boxes, it may not adequately assess the suitability of these measures against the specific soil type, depth of the trench, or proximity to other excavation work. The collapse of a trench at a construction site in Boston in 2016, which resulted in fatalities, highlighted the inadequacy of generic checklists. Investigations revealed a complex set of factors including the trench's depth, the nearby placement of heavy equipment, and recent changes to the trench's structure—none of which were adequately captured by the standard safety checklist in use.  For further information on the 2016 trench collapse in Boston, please refer to the articles from the  U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and WBUR


In the context of safety management, “interdependencies” refers to the mutual reliance and influence between various elements within a system that affect its overall safety performance. These elements can include personnel, processes, equipment, environmental conditions, and external factors. The concept recognizes that the behavior of one component can significantly impact others, leading to complex, dynamic interactions that can either mitigate or amplify potential risks and hazards.


Interdependencies in safety management are the complex and reciprocal relationships between different factors within a workplace or operational environment that collectively influence the likelihood and severity of safety incidents. This concept underscores the idea that safety outcomes are not the result of isolated factors but emerge from the interaction between multiple components of a system.

These interdependencies can manifest in several ways, including:

  • Operational Interdependencies: How the operation of one piece of equipment or process can affect the safety and functionality of another. For example, the failure of a ventilation system can increase the risk associated with the use of volatile substances in a nearby process.
  • Human-System Interdependencies: The relationship between human operators and the technical systems they manage. The design of equipment, the layout of a workspace, and the usability of safety systems can significantly affect human performance and, consequently, safety outcomes.
  • Environmental Interdependencies: How external environmental factors, such as weather conditions, can influence the operational safety of equipment and the effectiveness of safety measures. For example, extreme temperatures can affect the performance of safety critical components, such as emergency shutdown systems.
  • Organizational Interdependencies: The influence of organizational structures, policies, and culture on safety practices and outcomes. The alignment of safety protocols across different departments and the communication channels for safety concerns are examples of organizational interdependencies that can impact safety.

What is a Graph Neural Network (GNN)?

At its core, a Graph Neural Network (GNN) is a sophisticated AI model designed to process data represented as graphs. This capability is what sets GNNs apart: they excel at understanding the complex relationships between entities, making them ideal for tasks where interconnectivity is key. In a safety context, this means a GNN can analyze how different factors—such as worker behavior, equipment maintenance, and environmental conditions—interact and contribute to safety outcomes.

GNNs are particularly suited for safety management due to their ability to model the nuanced interactions within a safety ecosystem. Imagine a network where each node represents a different aspect of the workplace—employees, equipment, protocols—and each edge represents their interactions. GNNs can decipher how changes in one node (like a new safety protocol) might ripple through the network, affecting other nodes (such as employee behavior or equipment usage). This granular insight enables predictive analytics, allowing for preemptive action to mitigate risks, akin to understanding the web of relationships in a community to better safeguard its members.

NIXN leverages the power of Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) to revolutionize safety management by ingesting safety-related data in graph formats, where the relationships between different data points are emphasized with risk weights determined by machine learning algorithms. Utilizing proprietary datasets from over 25 industries, alongside workers’ compensation loss history, NIXN constructs a comprehensive, interconnected model of workplace safety dynamics. This approach enables the system to identify subtle patterns and predict potential risks with remarkable accuracy, offering tailored recommendations to mitigate these risks effectively. Through this sophisticated analysis, NIXN provides a nuanced understanding of safety management, transforming raw data into actionable insights.

NIXN GNN Framework

The Future

NIXN’s Graph Neural Network approach is transforming the landscape of risk management and underwriting in profound ways. By harnessing the intricate web of workplace safety data, NIXN enables companies to not only enhance their safety protocols but also significantly influence the underwriting process in the insurance industry. The benefits of this advanced AI technology extend beyond the immediate workplace, fostering a ripple effect that enhances safety benchmarks, reduces risk profiles, and catalyzes more informed underwriting practices.

Through NIXN’s predictive capabilities, stakeholders can expect a range of transformative outcomes:

  • Tailored Risk Assessment: Companies can obtain a nuanced understanding of their unique risk factors, leading to more personalized safety measures.
  • Data-Driven Underwriting: Insurers gain access to a richer, real-time data set, facilitating more accurate risk evaluations and policy customization.
  • Dynamic Premiums: Premiums can be adjusted to reflect current safety practices and risk levels, incentivizing companies to maintain high safety standards.
  • Improved Claim Predictability: A clearer forecast of potential incidents allows for better financial planning and reserve allocation for insurers.
  • Enhanced Loss Prevention: Identifying potential risks before they materialize helps in implementing preventative strategies, reducing the likelihood of incidents.
  • Cost Savings: Both companies and insurers can benefit financially from the reduction in incidents and improved risk management.
  • Safety Culture Evolution: As companies strive for lower premiums through better safety practices, a culture of safety becomes deeply ingrained within the organization.
  • Regulatory Compliance: With GNN insights, companies can ensure they not only meet but exceed industry regulations and standards.
NIXN's GNN-driven model marks a shift towards a more proactive, predictive, and personalized approach in safety management. By leveraging the power of AI, both companies and insurers can navigate the complexities of risk with unprecedented clarity and sophistication, setting a new standard in safety and underwriting.