Safetip #48: Plan-Do-Check-Act Model & Leading Indicators

September 28, 2016
By Jean-Grégoire Manoukian

This week’s Safetip is about leading indicators and how the Plan-Do-Check-Act Model can be used for their implementation.

Research Reveals Common Practices

The Campbell Institute at the National Safety Council conducted an extensive research on leading indicators in 2015, which includes a number of common practices and advice, including:

The white paper also highlights that the common pieces of advice given by Campbell Institute members and partners can be framed by the Plan-Do-Check-Act model.

Each Stage of the PDCA Model Includes Tips and Advice

Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) is a repetitive four-stage model for continuous improvement in business process management. The model can also be used for the implementation of leading indicators. The Campbell Institute white paper includes practices highlighted by research participants and grouped according to each stage of the model. They are summarized below.


  • Take inventory of and that your organization may already be tracking. This may reveal that you already have data available, which means you would not be required to ask worksites to provide additional data.
  • Develop a solid communication plan around leading indicators. Prepare to explain the reasons why they are important and the gains to be achieved by being proactive about safety.
  • Get the input and support from upper management in order to effectively implement leading indicators.


  • Involve the input of multiple departments and functions, from operations to human resources. All functional roles should understand how they contribute to health and safety, in order to build support for leading indicators and raise safety awareness.
  • with just a few risk-based leading indicators, and then add more metrics as data is collected and the organization matures.


  • Run to evaluate leading indicators’ effectiveness. The analysis can help you determine if your leading indicators are providing meaningful and actionable information.


  • Take action on the lessons learned. This can include:
    • Redefining leading indicators.
    • Tweaking their measurement.
    • Eliminating some indicators altogether if they are not as meaningful or actionable as planned.
  • Add more leading indicators to the existing set as your organization grows and matures.

Applying the PDCA model for the implementation of leading indicators brings more structure to the process and makes success more likely, which contributes to improve safety.

Visit Enablon Insights again next Wednesday for a brand new Safetip!

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