Organisations are looking for ways to gain insight into the level of safety in their company so that additional measures can be taken when necessary and the effectiveness of interventions can be measured. That said, measuring safety, health and the environment is not easy. A survey among members of the NVVK (the Dutch Society for Safety Science) was conductued and analysed. Companies that fall under the SEVESO directive were analysed separately. This study shows which indicators are used the most in the industry. It also shows that the respondents take safety very seriously: on average, they use 15 of the 37 safety indicators stated. The second question is what the organisations then do with these indicators in practice? Much of the collected information is not used as an indicator to improve organisations, even those that are considered to be of utmost importance for safety.

The number of indicators used in organisations proved to be a reasonable good at discriminating between companies with a good or not-so-good personal safety performance (LTIF rate). It cannot be concluded from this that using more indicators leads to fewer accidents. It is more likely that good organisations gather and use more information to steer safety efforts, and that this leads to fewer personal accidents. What is also evident is that more successful organisations make more use of specific types of indicators. Notably, neither the amount nor the nature of indicators collected can be related to process safety performance. This could be due to the lack of standarisation with respect to what is measured and how it is measured. At present, there is no set indicators that can be collected in organisations that can reliably discriminate between organisations with no or few or organisations with many process related incidents. This study legitimises the continued pursuit of suitable ‘leading indicators’ for process safety.

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