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Safety Classification and Learning (SCL) Model
What it is and where it came from?

In 2019, the Electric Institue (EEI) working group created the Safety Classification and Learning (SCL) Model, advised and coordinated by Dr. Matt Hallowell. In an effort to enhanced shared learning and create more meaningful safety metrics, the model was created to help organizations consistently and reliably classify and define incidents and observations. The elegance of the SCL model is that any classification is based upon the answer to the following four yes/no questions:


1. Was there high energy?

2. Was there an incident?

3. Was there direct control? 

4. Was a serious injury sustained?

Of course, the answers to these yes/no questions are not always easy. The SCL model and associated guidance help practitioners to answer these questions. By following consistent definitions of high energy, incident, direct controls, and serious injury, we can all classify incidents and observations the same way. This is exciting because a common understanding of commonly used terms like near-miss, PSIF, and success is the foundation for shared learning.

The SCL model was created by aggregating the better features of other classification models, inserting the scientific principles of energy, and testing and refining based on real cases. The model avoids ambiguity like 'other' categories and incomplete lists of situations that have the potential to be serious. 

Please read the EEI white paper below to learn more.

SCL Model White Paper

SCL Model Tool

SCL Model
Virtual Safety Training 

Dr. Matthew Hallowell has created a 60-min virtual session on this topic. In this course, he discusses why the model is needed, how the model was created, and how to use the model. He then applies the SCL model is to several real case examples, pointing out common questions and errors. By the end of this session, participants will be able to use the SCL model and explain it to others.

This course is also a part of the 3-hour energy-based safety series. 

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Safety Classification and Learning (SCL) Model

Get familiar with the new EEI SCL model and practice with real cases. ​

Duration: 60 mins

Audience: Safety professionals, Supervisors, and Managers

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Energy-Based Safety

Discover how the concept of energy can be used to improve hazard recognition, assess potential severity, classify incidents, and enable learning. 

Duration: 2.5 Hours

Audience: Safety Professionals and Supervisors

SCL Model
Classification Application and Dashboard

To assist organizations with the classification of incidents and observations, we created the SCL Model Application. This tool guides the user through the questions in the model. Features of the tool include an energy calculator, which is also available as a stand-alone application. Once a user classifies their incident or observation, the tool automatically stores the data. These data are then imported into the organization's dashboard, which provides an analysis of the patterns in energy sources, controls, incident types, and many other forms of new intelligence. 

Members of EEI have free and open access to this application through the EEI SIF Learning Center as part of our ongoing partnership. If you are not a member of EEI, we can provide the SCL model classification application and custom dashboard for a nominal monthly fee.

Click on the video below for a tour through the application.

SCL Model
Workshops and Keynote Presentations

In-Person Keynote Presentation

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Speaker Bio

Dr. Matthew Hallowell offers keynote presentations on this topic and has delivered to audiences ranging from 100 to over 2,000. His presentation includes a number of engaging audience activities and generates a vibrant discussion.

In-Person Workshops


Workshops on the SCL model involve a robust introduction to safety measurement and establish the need for consistency in how we think about, record, and learn from incidents and obsevrations. Dr. Hallowell walks participants through the creation of the SCL model, explains how to use the model, and walks the group through several case examples. Participants then classify their own incidents and observations during group activities, discussions, and debates.

Our Role in the Community 

Dr. Matthew Hallowell serves as the Technical Advisor to EEI and leads the EEI SIF Learning Community of Practice. He has also presented this content at National and International Venues alongside industry leaders like Kim Green (President and CEO, Southern Company Gas), Matt Compher (VP, Quanta Services), and Nelayne Maulini (VP, Entergy).

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