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What Gets Measured Gets Done

I’m working on a webinar for next week about safety metrics. If you are familiar with my work or my posts, you know that I am a fan of keeping things simple. As I work on my slides, I keep coming back to the same phrase, which was taught to me over 11 years ago by my then boss, Pete Filanc. I can hear him saying it, “what gets measured gets done!” Pete was a person who kept things simple too. He was a brilliant man, and a one-of-a-kind person to work for. I think of him almost daily as I go about my work in safety and risk control consulting, and he wasn’t even a “safety guy!”

What gets measured gets done.

When evaluating your company’s leading indicators and measurements you use to understand if you’re being successful in safety, think about the following:

1. What safety activities are required for supervisors?

2. Are these activities a part of supervisors’ evaluations for compensation and/or bonuses?

3. How do the supervisors know they are successfully completing the activities listed in #1?

By measuring safety activities required of supervisors and linking them directly to an existing evaluation program that determines compensation and/or bonus, you WILL get your supervisors’ attention! If there are new safety activities or responsibilities that your company has recently rolled out and they are falling flat, answer the three questions. Be honest. Are you measuring what you want done?

I will go into greater detail on this and other leading and lagging indicators and safety metrics next Tuesday, August 26, in a webinar presented in partnership with BLR. More information is at this link. Use code SPEAKFREE at checkout to register for the webinar for free. Let me know if I’ll “see” you at the webinar in the comments.

The Simplicity of Safety


I was scrolling through Facebook today and a video shot inside of a pig slaughterhouse caught my eye. Since Facebook automatically plays videos as you scroll (thanks a LOT, ugh), I unfortunately caught a few frames of pigs being kicked and thrown before they were ultimately slaughtered. There were a few obligatory horrified comments under the video, and there was another commenter who posted a link. The link referenced a social media studies class at NYU in which students discuss the media’s short attention span, and that this company (Tyson), would likely suffer a short time with a bad rep. The article also referenced the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

Any safety professional worth their salt can spout off some stats about the Triangle tragedy: It was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of New York City, and one of the deadliest in the US, with 146 garment workers killed. 123 women and 23 men. They died from smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths because the owners had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits to prevent theft and unauthorized breaks.

The Triangle Shirtwaist tragedy led to legislation to improve the safety and workplace conditions for factory workers. It is referenced to this day as an event that led to better worker safety conditions.

And yet, people are still dying on jobsites, in factories, and other workplaces. Just this week, an article highlighted the fact that six construction workers have died on jobsites in Broward County Florida in the past month. This is unacceptable.

I say this to someone at least once a week, and I’ll tell you too – safety is not rocket science. There are many safety professionals who have gone before me who took the opposite path. They authored written programs with volume in mind instead of practicality. A safety program spread across multiple 3″ binders is daunting to a plant manager, a site superintendent, or other front line supervisor.

I encourage my professional safety peers to remember this quote by Albert Einstein – “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Think about that.

How many times has a safety training session started out with a captive and even excited audience, only to lose them in the first 30 minutes of OSHA explainer slides in an unending, flat, lecture presentation? Your people are hungry for safety knowledge. They WANT to know how to do their jobs safely. They don’t want to die at work. They WANT the tools and information to do their job safely and go home. Give it to them by keeping your message simple and practical.

Each student should leave your classroom or trailer or any old conversation with at least one action item that they can do as soon as they get back to their crew. If they don’t have that, you have failed them.

Each supervisor should be able to reach for a simple, organized, and practical safety program as a resource at least once each week. If they can’t do that, you have failed them.

I challenge you to seek out the simplicity of your safety program and convey it to your people, their lives depend on you.

Going Back to Basics for a Healthy Safety Program

We often get frantic emails from people wondering “how do I start a safety program?” “What do my people need to be trained on?” “What is required?”

Most of the time, these requests are accompanied with an explainer with a slight tone of embarrassment. As they say, identifying that you have a problem is the first step! We welcome these frantic requests. In fact, we THRIVE on them.

Going back to basics is healthy for any company, whether your safety program is established or not. There is nothing wrong with recognizing that safety is NOT rocket science, and ensuring that you have your basics in place even as you strive for a world class program. Here at The Ferri Group, we have a systematic approach we use with our first-time safety clients. Beware, the information I’m about to share with you is NOT rocket science. It comes from years of experience, with some of those years spent barking up incorrect trees.


Consider this your Basic Training –

1. Assess your workplace: Look at all of your current written safety programs, have they been updated in the past year? If not, start here. If yes, then assess your field operations. Look at every job title and do a Job Hazard Analysis. The act of conducting a JHA will force you to take a simplified look at your operations because you are looking at each step of a task. It is a GREAT exercise and one to involve your new safety staff, production veterans, and new workforce in.

The goals of this step are updated written programs and polished JHA’s for each task conducted by your employees.

2. Assess your training program: If you do a good job at Step 1, the next logical and natural step will be to look at your training. Are your employees up to date on the minimum training they need? What about the “nice to have” training? Identify any gaps in required training and the nice to have training.

The goals of this step are a polished Safety Training Matrix (or a Training Matrix that addresses topics other than safety in addition to safety) and an understanding of what training is needed NOW and later.

3. Do it! Take the items from Steps 1 and 2 and get your action plan together. You may have identified some MUST HAVE NOW training, so do it! If your programs and training were on the up and up, you are in the continuous improvement loop – so keep assessing, identifying opportunities, act on them, and evaluate again.

As always, if you are stuck as to where to start, contact us!



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