Key KPIs for Every Safety Program
There’s no off-the-shelf package for safety reporting that works as well as choosing your own indicators. And the indicators you choose now will inevitably change. You will tweak your measurements based on new systems, organizational changes, and the maturity of your safety program.
That being said, there are leading indicators that the vast majority of safety programs should track and continue tracking over time. If you’re new to this type of safety reporting, then you can get started here.
The benefits of training are relatively obvious: you don’t know what your team doesn’t know. So it’s always in your best information to share safety knowledge. But there’s also scientific evidence for the value of training, and there’s a strong positive correlation between successful training programs and preventing occupational injuries.
Because every company must provide some sort of training, it makes for a great place to start with safety reporting. Training records can serve as fuel for related KPIs. The records should show if employees are being trained or are just being put in the field and expected to learn as they go. Gaps in training programs can increase the likelihood of an accident as employees may not yet know what they need to do to be safe in the particular job or task they are performing.
Some KPIs you might use include:
- Training type and frequency
- Training delivered against plan
- Time to proficiency
- Transfer of training
- Job role competency rate
- Training completion
- Online assessment pass/fails
Ultimately, no matter how good the training, you don’t know if someone can do the task (for hands-on tasks at least) until you observe them doing it correctly. Incorrect behavior cannot be corrected if it isn’t being looked for.
There must be ongoing observations for compliance with policies, programs, and procedures that the training supports. Remember: the best-trained employees are only safe if they actually do what’s required on a regular basis.
Some safety observation KPIs include:
- Frequency of safety observations
- Type of safety observations
- Ratio of positive to negative observations
Tip: Are you use safety observation KPIs? Use our guide to safety observation best practices to make the most of your data.
Near misses are an opportunity for organizational learning and building the strength of safety programs. They should be investigated like an actual loss report. After all, just because someone wasn’t injured or there was no property damage doesn’t mean this was without cost.
For example, if a product spilled, someone must clean it up, thereby diverting labor from productive tasks to non-productive tasks. If equipment gets stuck in the ground, you need to spend money to free the equipment, resulting in some loss. You must also devote time to the investigation instead of devoting it to some other directly productive (in terms of profitability and/or operations) task.
Near miss investigations that yield actionable and effective corrective and preventative actions are “productive” but they don’t earn the company money on their own.
Near misses are quite useful. However, you must always remember that a near miss is essentially an accident with no direct loss (injury or property). A deviation from the norm still occurred, so use the data they provide you to figure out what happened and why.
Inspections and Audits
Inspections and audits are compliance tools, but they provide a unique look at your safety program. You can start by tracking the content and frequency of your inspections and audits and then setting goals to increase or manage both content and time frames. You can also track further KPIs like:
- Investigation closed time frames
- Inspections or safety visit against plan
- Equipment breakdowns
Your data will grant you insights into constructive problem-solving queries like:
- Whether your maintenance program works
- If your team gets enough training
- How often to make updates to procedures and programs
Corrective and Preventative Actions
Your team spots a hazard in the field. What happens next? Hazards and corrective/preventative actions offer a gold mine for safety reporting because they tell you what’s happening on the ground and when.
You should be tracking KPIs like:
- # of hazards raised per day or week
- Time from hazard recorded to corrective action implemented
- Average number of unresolved hazards per week
Unresolved hazards or slow-moving corrective actions are accidents waiting to happen. When you see how the process unfolds, you can update procedures to improve those areas.
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