Safety Metrics for Modern Times


In preparation for a webinar on EHS Metrics next week,* focusing on Leading Indicators, I reached out to a colleague. He had some ideas that turned everything I thought about Leading vs. Lagging Indicators on its head!

He said “indicators are indicators.” 

Well, yeah. But aren’t you a cave man if you use mostly Lagging Indicators, and you’re a super fancy and world class safety professional if you have more Leading Indicators?

Not necessarily.

A Holistic Safety Program

I like this concept and try to keep the holistic safety program in mind when evaluating client sites. In a true holistic safety program, all activities are meaningful. This means that an incident investigation is just as meaningful as ten hours of safety training. Wearing your safety glasses at work is just as important as wearing them at home when you work in your shop or yard.

Design Your Performance Indicators Like Your Training

I coach safety professionals on the value of establishing Learning Objectives for their safety training. These are expectations for your students upon completion of a course. You can measure the effectiveness of your training by testing and evaluating students on the Learning Objectives in the classroom and in the workplace. Along the same lines, think about what your expectations are for each safety activity. These become your Performance Indicators that you measure, track, and trend.

For example, that incident investigation I mentioned earlier should result in recommendations for prevention of recurrence of the same incident. We all know this, but do we really communicate these expectations to the people who are doing the investigations? No, we usually provide them the incident investigation form and camera and tell them to get it done because we need it done!

You can’t see management

The semiconductor industry is the leader in tracking Key Performance Indicators. Due to the nature of the small particles they work with, performance is measured because you can’t see the small particles. Well, we can’t see management either, but we can measure the effectiveness of management through Performance Indicators.

*Use code SPEAKFREE at the link for complimentary webinar registration. “See” you there!

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