Were you satisfied with your organization’s safety performance last year?

Dan Hannan, CSP

Regardless of your answer to that question, allow me to challenge you with this question—how do you know?

It is critical to evaluate and understand how you are measuring success vs. failure of your safety program—are you only paying attention to injuries, recordables, and lost-time incidents and other lagging indicators?  Anyone that has managed OSHA 300 logs knows that a work-related case of poison ivy treated with prescription steroids is not the same as a broken arm or leg. However, they both count as “one” when it comes to recording an incident in the OSHA log. Those numbers don’t lie, but they also don’t tell the whole story. Incident rate, lost time rate, and experience modification rate (EMR) all mater, but what often gets lost in focusing on these numbers is whether you are making progress toward your goals.

The shift to tracking and measuring injury prevention efforts, or similar leading indicators, has existed in industry for some time now. Tracking proactive safety efforts and activities to better understand how these efforts correspond with injury prevention is a great practice. More tool box talks, more pre-task planning, more inspections, and more training is great… but is it all working? I would encourage you to look at both quantity AND quality of these efforts. Are your inspections or tailgate meetings being pencil-whipped (poor effort) or is there legitimate thought put into them? How about your training? Is the training experience of good quality and impactful or a waste of time, but enables you to “check the training box”.

The start of a new year is a great time to ask yourself if the way you evaluate safety program performance is right for your company.

Hilmerson Safety has been helping clients with OSHA compliance for 15 years, and we can help with all of your safety compliance needs.  If you have specific questions about tracking safety performance contact us by phone at (952) 239-0125 or send us an email at dan.hannan@hilmersonservices.com.