Monday, June 10, 2013

RIF – Breaking through safety performance plateaus

RIF, Recordable Injury Frequency, the worldwide standard for judging safety performance is often talked about as inadequate, but in actuality is seldom if ever replaced.  Some of the common arguments in opposition to RIF include:
  • RIF is reactionary, not proactive .

  • RIF doesn’t give a hint as to what you should do differently to improve safety.

  • Why incent RIF performance when all it does is lead to hiding injuries and thus impede progress in resolving the recurring issues that should be addressed? 

  • RIF means nothing to a worker on the front line, where the risks are lived with every day.
We have all heard these arguments and more.  Yet we keep slogging down this same old road expecting a different result – the classic definition of insanity.  A group of safety professionals recently met with the executive safety leadership of a Fortune 50 company that was struggling with the RIF Plateau.  A number of years back when their injury numbers were higher they attacked the RIF culture that existed, solved many condition and regulatory issues and took a steep drop in RIF and its associated costs.  The leadership was all smiles as they thoughtlessly planned the next 10 percent RIF decrease goal with all its bonus structure implications thereto pertaining.  And then they hit the RIF Plateau and injury rate progress stopped for years.  No matter how hard they pushed a meaningless goal of < 0.1 RIF reduction the outdated statistic did not move.  Classic safety wisdom draws to a halt at the RIF plateau.

During the weeklong retreat it was decided that the CEO and group presidents owned RIF responsibility, whereas all those below these pay grades were responsible for the upstream activities that delivered downstream results.  This led to a whole new initiative that will involve:
  • Safety culture training

  • Safety culture diagnostic

  • Continuous Improvement focus

  • Engaging employees at all levels of the organization in safety problem solving

  • Safety Accountabilities for employees at all levels of the organization

  • Effective interpersonal safety communication at the front line

  • Personal Risk Assessment as a way of life for all employees, on and off the job
This initiative is still in the formation and implementation process.  However, for the first time in years there is viable energy working to move beyond the RIF plateau performance trap.  Is it time for you and your organization to exit safety RIF insanity and do likewise?

The Doc   

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I'mm working for a Caterpillar dealer in Nicaragua, and I need more information about this, and maybe if there is a webinar for this. Specifically I want to know how exactly to calculate it.




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