How to Make the Most out of Your Safety Metrics

The safety profession has an unhealthy fixation on measuring using purely negative values. OSHA recordable and lost-time injuries spring to mind – both are lagging, and I would suggest, negative indicators. Once they occur, there is nothing that can be done but to investigate and hopefully learn enough to avoid similar incidents in the future. But even these metrics are flawed in that a lack of injuries or incidents does not necessarily equate to a safe workplace. It could be a matter of just being lucky.

Leading v LaggingMany organizations now realize that simply measuring lagging data in the form of incidents and injuries isn’t enough. Because of this, safety-conscious companies have begun to adopt leading indicators that attempt to show how the safety process is working. The most common indicators are near-miss reports and work site observations. Near misses, however, are merely incidents that did not reach their full potential and rely on a mishap to occur before being observed and reported. In a mature and effective safety process, leading indicators further up the value chain are used, including observable inputs such as the behaviors and conditions that could lead to the near miss or incident.

In the upcoming weeks, we plan to release a blog series that:

  • Demonstrates the value gained by using the right metrics
  • Eases the transition to a leading indicator focus by helping you understand which indicators to use
  • Teaches you how to utilize metrics for continuous improvement
  • Provides benchmarking so you can see how your current metrics stack up


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Cary Usrey

Written by Cary Usrey

Cary Usrey has been at Predictive Solutions since March 2007. As a Process Improvement Leader, Cary is responsible for implementing best practices for customers seeking to prevent worker injuries. He coaches customers through an assessment, goal-setting, and goal measurement process that is designed to maximize safety improvement and widespread organizational engagement, from the field to leadership. Cary started his career in the U.S. Navy's Nuclear Power Program. After leaving the Navy, he served as the Environmental, Health and Safety Compliance Director at Adirondack Resource Recovery Associates, a waste-to-energy power plant in upstate New York, where he was employed for over twelve years. Following this, Cary took a position with Turner Construction, where he served as the Business Unit Safety Director for the upstate New York office for approximately three years. Cary has graduated with his Associate's Degree in Occupational Safety and Health from Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado, is a member of the Central FL chapter of the ASSE, and has served on the Board of Directors for the VPPPA (Region II).

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