Safety Culture

5 More Steps to a Better Safety Program

Previously, our experts offered the first 5 steps toward using leading indicators to build a forward-looking safety effort. Today, they offer the additional steps needed to carry it out and evaluate the results.

In yesterday’s Advisor, we began to describe a 10_point program to orient your organization to looking at safety from a leading indicator perspective.

Leading indicators, such as the degree of employee participation and engagement in safety training are measures that predict how safe your organization will be in the future.  Trailing indicators, such as injury and illness records only describe the past. The program was developed by Indiana University safety experts Earl Blair and Barry Spurlock, and described at a recent conference sponsored by ASSE and other safety and training groups.

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In the first 5 steps, Blair and Spurlock suggested:

1) prioritizing what is measured,
2) assessing how active various levels of the organization are in pursuing safety goals,
3) evaluating existing controls to see how well they work,
4) developing metrics, and
5) measuring employee engagement.

In the remaining steps, the experts move from the preparatory to the practical means you need to execute a leading indicator program. Here are their last 5 steps:

6) Develop safety measurement tools. Once you’ve delivered the leading indicator message, you need the means to evaluate how well its being carried out. The experts suggest using checklists and audits, surveys, scorecards, and observation methods.

7) Develop delivery strategies. How frequently will you carry out inspections and conduct other measurements? Who will do it? These are necessary decisions in setting up a program.

8) Set performance goals. Once you know who’s carrying your program out, and how it will be done, set goals possible at your workplace. Don’t look for a 50 percent drop in injury rates when 20 percent would be a real improvement. Follow the MART principle … set goals that are measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.

9) Monitor the program’s progress. Here’s where leading and trailing indicators come together. A positive measure in the former should correlate to the same in the latter. As you notice your senior managers more engaged in looking at safety, and attendance increase at training classes, for example, your injury and illness rates should begin to drop noticeably. 

10) Adjust and modify over time.  Let experience lead you to what’s working and build on that.

How Will You Know Managers Have Complied?

Of course, even if you take all the steps above, how can you be sure the processes you’ve put in place stay in place? You can’t be everywhere at once to check.

When we asked our editors that question, they gave the same answer Blair and Spurlock did in Step 6: Use checklists. A checklist forces the user to think through all the issues involved with any procedure and to certify on record that all issues are addressed. There also is a product recommendation built on this principle—BLR’s Safety Audits Checklists.

This unique, best_selling program provides more than 300 separate safety checklists, keyed to three different criteria:

OSHA compliance checklists, built right off the government standards in such key areas as HazCom, lockout/tagout, electrical safety, and many more. Have your managers complete these lists, and you’ll see first exactly what inspectors will be looking for.

Examine BLR’s best_selling Safety Audit Checklists program for 30 days at no cost … not even for return shipping. Click here for details.

“Plaintiff attorney; checklists, built around those non_OSHA issues that often attract suits. These include workplace stress and violence, alcohol abuse, and insufficient job hazard analysis.

Safety management checklists, that monitor the administrative procedures you need to have in place for topics such as OSHA 300 Log maintenance, training program scheduling and recordkeeping, and OSHA_required employee notifications.

All lists are reproducible. Just make as many copies as needed for all your supervisors and managers, and distribute. What’s more, the entire program is updated annually. You get new or revised checklists automatically as long as you remain a participant. And the cost averages only about $1 a checklist.

If this method to ensuring a safer, more OSHA_compliant workplace interests you, we will be happy to make Safety Audits Checklists available for a no_cost, no_obligation 30_day evaluation in your own office. Click here and we’ll be pleased to arrange it.


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