Major Concerns in Safety Performance

Author: Dr. Vince Marchesani
Safety performance cycle is nothing but continuing the ups and downs in performance cycle. For example: first the performance is good, then it begins to slip (need to revitalize the program), the performance continues to slip (new program needs to be selected and implemented), performance becomes good, this cycle continues. The paradigm shifts resulting in a culture change in projecting safety performance are stamped as shift from mail to e-mail, reading books to kindle, washing dishes to electric dishwasher, horse and wagon to automobile, national business to global business and lagging to leading indicator safety performance.
1. Tools for projecting safety performance
The standard tools for measuring safety Performance are lagging and leading indicators. Lagging indicators are the benchmarks in measuring safety performance.
2. Annual Target
Typically each location is involved in achieving the company’s annual target. Each location receives an annual, not to exceed, number of recordable injuries permitted for the company to achieve its target. Small location often told that 0 recordable injury is what they are permitted if the company’s annual target is to be achieved. Each year a company achieves its target, next year’s target becomes more difficult to achieve since the target is lowered. Reaching an ongoing target of 0 is not impossible, but very difficult. Only companies with excellent safety performance would even consider a 0 target.
3. Failure to Meet Annual Target
Failure to meet annual target becomes a serious morale problem for the small locations especially if a recordable injury occurred in the first week of the year. Financial incentives are lost. Locations with larger populations will be given 2 to 4 recordable injuries as they are not to exceed the target.
4. Solution
Adopt meaningful safety measurements in addition to adopting a target. This broadens safety dimensions and permits a more in-depth evaluation and a better understanding of safety performance.
5. Recordable or Lost Time Injuries
Increase in recordable or lost time injuries is caused due to Poor safety performance. Question existing programs, and if they are stable and/or have lost effectiveness need to seek new program(s), need to select a program(s) or need to implement selected program(s).

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