How do organizations assess their safety performance? If one were to ask a safety professional how safe of a company do they have, they typically would respond "Pretty safe". If one were to ask their employees this question, how would they respond? Most likely, the employee would respond by quoting one of many "safety" statistics that have been tracked for generations by organizations and our government (NSC, 1955). Too often, organizations assess their safety performance solely on lagging indicators like recordable rate, total recordable rate, lost workday rate, DART rate, EMR, and fatalities to name a few (BLS, 2006). But, do these numbers assess how safe of an organization we have? These lagging indicators might tell us how risky of an organization we have, but it does not tell us how safe of an organization we have. After all, is it not possible to have no reported incidents and still have a considerable amount of risky occurring on a regular basis? So, I would put forth that many organizations are only using injury metrics and are rarely using safety metrics. In continuing efforts to reduce and/or eliminate injuries in the workplace, many companies are moving beyond assessing their safety performance through simple lagging indicators, and are moving to using predictive analytics as strong leading indicators. Lagging indicators do contribute meaning to our assessment of the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of our safety processes, engineering systems and leadership support, however lagging metrics often place organizations in a reactive or "fix-it" mentality. Many organizations, and their safety professionals, struggle with finding the "next generation" of metrics that will reliably represent their companies' safety performance while guiding the allocation of resources to appropriate areas in order to prevent injuries.
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Predicting & Preventing: Using Leading Indicators to Assess Safety Performance
Paper presented at the ASSE Professional Development Conference and Exposition, Denver, Colorado, June 2012.
Paper Number: ASSE-12-715
Published: June 03 2012
Pettinger, Chuck B. "Predicting & Preventing: Using Leading Indicators to Assess Safety Performance." Paper presented at the ASSE Professional Development Conference and Exposition, Denver, Colorado, June 2012.
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