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How do you measure success? This is an important question for every profession, and occupational safety and health is no different. Every organization has key performance indicators KPIs used to gauge success in achieving goals. Most OSH professionals would agree that metrics are essential components of effective safety and health management systems as they help them to evaluate, monitor and control injury and illness hazards and ensure that job responsibilities are met.
In terms of workplace safety and health, metrics are generally divided into two categories: leading indicators and lagging indicators. Lagging indicators, also known as outcome indicators, typically examine after-the-fact issues and include data such as OSHA injury and illness statistics. Leading indicators, on the other hand, tend to be measures of prevention and can be predictive or incentivizing. These could include redesigning workflows or installing machine guarding to improve the safety and health of the work environment.
While these metrics examine different types of data, each has advantages and disadvantages. For instance, lagging indicators that examine outcomes are usually better for benchmarking. Leading indicators may make better intervention tools and can be indicators of future performance. From the s through the late s, the Z16 committee developed five standards dedicated to measuring safety and health performance.
Thereafter, the committee suspended its activities before reorganizing in in recognition of the need for standard guidance around safety and health metrics. Z16 encourages safety professionals and other users to look beyond traditional measures of evaluating performance to examine criteria such as leading and lagging indicators, the dollar value of safety controls and KPIs.
Gary Lopez, assistant director at Arthur J. Lopez points to the balanced scorecard as a particular aspect of Z16 that safety professionals and stakeholders should use to improve their safety and health performance. This involves combining leading indicators with lagging indicators to develop a more comprehensive assessment of safety and health performance and how it can be improved.
For instance, if a workflow is redesigned as a leading indicator, an accompanying lagging indicator may be the recordable incident rate associated with that workflow to measure the overall success of the redesigned process. In addition to the guidance Z16 provides safety professionals in improving safety and health performance, Lopez emphasizes that it is a powerful tool to demonstrate to their executives the impact that safety has on business performance.
Furthermore, Lopez stresses the need to engage management in the decision process, and work with them to determine which metrics will be the most valuable in measuring safety and health performance, as well as the impact that safety and health have on the organization as a whole.
By taking these steps to employ a broader view of safety and health metrics and engaging management in the process of improving overall performance, Lopez feels that safety professionals can demonstrate their value to the C-suite as positive contributors to their organizations.
Publication of an updated edition of Z Supervisors as Leading Indicators of Safety Performance. Thank you for the comment! Your comment must be approved first. You've already submitted a review for this item. Thank you! Your review has been submitted successfully. Login to be able to comment. Contact Shop. Facebook LinkedIn Twitter.
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American national standard method of recording and measuring work injury experience