Informed Health and Safety: Measuring More Than Just Incidents

Poor health and safety performance can have detrimental effects on workers and their families, as well as on the financial and reputational health of a business.

Measurement is a critical part of health and safety management. Health and safety metrics can help identify what drives good performance and highlight areas in need of improvement – making it easier to bolster weak spots in the system. Overall, it creates a comprehensive picture of how well the health and safety system is functioning in all aspects.

However, deciding on the correct metrics to use is the most crucial part.

What are lag indicators?

It’s common for organisations to purely focus on the lag indicators to measure how well their health and safety system is performing. Lag indicators measure past events, such as number of incidents, lost workdays and worker’s compensation costs. Essentially, they evaluate the failures of your health and safety performance.

While measuring these are still important, they do not adequately inform you on how well you are managing your risks and preventing incidents. For instance, a manager may see a low injury rate despite the fact that there are serious risks present in the workplace that may contribute to future injuries.

What should you measure then?

Every organisation is required to choose appropriate key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most relevant to the health and safety risks they have identified in their workplace. Gathering the right information and data will allow them to determine how effectively they are managing and minimising these critical risks.

One of the most effective measurements is ‘lead indicators’ which anticipates future events and is used to measure activities to control risks and prevent incidents. Lead indicators can include safety training, safety audits, employee surveys and wellbeing programmes. These are proactive measures to track how well the workplace is performing in health and safety and what employees are doing to prevent serious injuries from occurring.

When setting lead indicators ask yourself:

  • Will they focus attention on the things that will prevent serious injury or illness?
  • Do they include a mix of data, descriptive information and analysis?
  • Are the benefits worth the time and cost of collecting the information?

To find out more about health and safety measurements, click here. For additional information on healthy and safety metrics, check out SafePlus’ Lead Indicators – which includes the most effective leading KPIs across industry sectors (e.g. Construction, Manufacturing, Transport and more).

Alternatively, contact the team at Working Wise to learn more about our Informed Health and Safety Metrics offering. Our framework guides organisations along a pathway to excellence using four measurement quadrants. Fill out our online form or give us a call on 04 499 0710 today!

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