Safety Performance: Measure Workplace Risks

Learn to identify and assess risks, set benchmarks, and track progress with safety performance indicators.

What is Safety Performance?

Safety performance is the analysis of safety processes and procedures to determine how well those systems function. It involves checking the levels of risk, identifying potential hazards, evaluating safety policies and regulations, and carrying out accident investigations.

It aims to reduce accidents and incidents; improve the working environment for employees; increase efficiency and productivity; save time, energy, and resources by examining systems in place, diagnosing safety issues, and providing solutions.

Safety performance examines various factors, including:

  • workforce experience and qualifications;
  • machine maintenance schedules;
  • safety equipment features;
  • technical specification standards; and
  • compliance reporting requirements.

Reasons for Measuring Safety Performance

Below are some of the reasons for measuring safety performance:

  • Can be a navigational tool
  • Can be an early warning sign
  • Can alter behavior
  • Used to implement strategies and policies
  • Used for trend monitoring
  • For improvement prioritization
  • For improvement project evaluation
  • Input into bonus and incentive systems
  • Used as a marketing tool
  • For benchmarking
  • Increased motivation

How is it Measured?

Organizations may use different measurement systems to predict safety performance and improve results. However, two primary types of metrics are used for evaluating this.

Lagging Metric

As an example of a lag metric, one could consider a safety measure evaluating an event, an indicator, or an already occurring outcome. The objective is to prevent future accidents by assessing them afterward.

Leading Metrics

Lead metrics are a safety measure used to investigate the effectiveness of key work processes, operating disciplines, and other proactive measures in predicting incidents. This type of metric may involve participation in training and awareness initiatives.

If collected over time, data from lead metrics can help to identify any drops in the efficiency of safety systems before any accidents happen, allowing corrective measures to be taken.

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5 Key Safety Metrics to Improve Performance

Using the following five safety metrics, an organization can improve its Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) performance:

1. Incidents and Near-Misses

This metric measures the frequency of incidents and near-misses that have happened in the past. The data obtained from analyzing this metric can help identify any patterns or trends that could be linked to processes, operations, or other safety factors.

2. Inspections

Incident metrics can provide valuable insights into safety performance. Injury and illness data, however, only provides a partial snapshot. Regularly inspecting the workplace and equipment, as well as assessing potential hazards, can prevent workplace incidents.

3. Observations

By utilizing behavior-centric safety data, you can monitor employee behavior daily and identify opportunities for improving workplace procedures. Furthermore, it can measure the use of safe practices among employees and offer a chance to recognize their positive efforts.

4. Training

Assessing the effectiveness of a training program requires monitoring attendance and pass rates. It lets you ensure employees participate in their required training and comprehend the material. These should be the initial metrics evaluated when assessing your training program.

5. Safety Suggestions and Hazards

Developing an employee safety culture require a two-way feedback system. It can allow employees to report unsafe conditions or hazardous situations at work.

Management can use this information to implement safety improvements and corrective actions. Additionally, it gives them insights into potential areas for improvement and encourages employee engagement in workplace safety initiatives.

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Types of Safety Performance Measures

Results Measures

Results measures are critical in understanding the nature and causes of accidents. They can be broken down into units, such as the number of people injured or killed, the amount of property damage, and other associated costs.

By analyzing the financial costs of an accident in terms of dollars per unit, you can gain a clearer insight into the economic burden caused.

Furthermore, results measurements must be accurate to abide by all legal and insurance regulations.

Activity Measures

Activity measures are vital for measuring the success of preventive measures to reduce workplace accidents. By tracking behaviors and performance linked to accident prevention, organizations can better understand how their strategies and initiatives are working to reduce risk and improve safety.

Activity measures can assess outcomes at both the supervisor/workgroup level and the organizational level, allowing companies to identify areas of improvement or where additional resources may be necessary.

FAQs About Safety Performance

Unsafe workplaces and unsafe work indicate poor management of employees. As a result, employees may be less motivated, mindful, and unhappy at work. Besides putting team members’ safety at risk, poor safety management can have a detrimental effect on operations and productivity as well.

Regarding workplace safety, there are two key terms to understand: Safety Performance Indicators (SPI) and Safety Performance Targets (SPT).

At its core, SPI measures the incident rates and injuries while analyzing the effectiveness of a company’s existing strategies and regulations. Conversely, SPTs serve as measurable goals toward achieving ultimate safety targets. Understanding the difference between them is vital in managing any successful organization’s risk management strategies.

Several methods for measuring safety culture are available, including surveys, focus groups, observations, and audits. These methods can help measure progress toward a more safety-conscious workplace by assessing employees’ perceptions of safety and identifying cultural strengths and weaknesses.

The frequency of safety performance measurement may depend on the nature and complexity of the organization’s operations, the level of risk involved, and regulatory requirements. Some organizations may measure safety performance daily or weekly, while others may conduct quarterly or annual assessments.

Rob Paredes
Article by
Rob Paredes
Rob Paredes is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. He is a content writer who also does copy for websites, sales pages, and landing pages. Rob worked as a financial advisor, a freelance copywriter, and a Network Engineer for more than a decade before joining SafetyCulture. He got interested in writing because of the influence of his friends; aside from writing, he has an interest in personal finance, dogs, and collecting Allen Iverson cards.