Monday, January 10, 2011

Leading Vs. Lagging Indicators

LEADING vs. LAGGING INDICATORS....I would like to hear from others on what Safety Indicators their organizations use to measure their Safety Performance. My company currently uses Lagging Indicators (i.e., Incident Rate, WC per Hour, etc.) - to assess and measure its Safety Performance - which is very good. But we currently are hiring field personnel and expanding what we do - therefore are measures will not predict our future risk exposure. I would like to hear from others on what type of Leading Safety Indicators that they use - such as Near Miss Severity, Employee Safety Participation, etc. Also please comment on what you think is the best Leading Indicator to measure and why.


Downstream results aren’t dependable in sustaining a proactive approach to safety culture excellence. Using injury statistics to drive a safety system is just not effective in the long term. To achieve a safe work environment, the employees’ specific tasks and activities that eliminate incidents need to be well defined, trained, measured and recognized. And individuals up and down the total organization need to know these tasks matter to management and their peers.  In essence the organization has a safety culture that focuses primarily on the presence of safety (what we want to occur) rather than just reacting to the absence of safety (the incidents).  
I recommend a shift of focus to the upstream activities that deliver the downstream results. In other words, focus on activity-based objectives that can be measured and rewarded. This also means your team needs to get together and agree on what to regularly measure and reinforce.
Without measuring the upstream activities, you simply won’t get the downstream results you want.  Once you’ve established that the primary focus needs to be on what goes on upstream, the downstream numbers begin to take care of themselves. That is, assuming you have the right person at the right job. A worker can do all the right activities, but perform them poorly because of the role s/he is in. The lesson here is to match the right worker to the right job and hold them accountable for their activities that deliver the results you want.   

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