Choosing the Right Leading Indicators
Organizations should track both lagging and leading indicators. Lagging indicators measure what has already happened. They are helpful to track improvements in safety performance over specific time periods (e.g. comparing incident rates between two different years).
Leading indicators provide a much better idea of the effectiveness of your safety program, and whether you’re on the right track. They allow you to be proactive by potentially recognizing signs that may precede a problem.
While there is no standard set of leading indicators, there are nevertheless some “usual suspects” from which to choose from. In an EHS Today survey, the top five leading indicators were:
1) Near misses
2) Employee audits/observations
3) Participation in safety training
4) Inspections and their results
5) Participation in safety meetings
Repetition is the Best Education
As seen, participation in safety training is a popular leading indicator. If all new workers are diligently taking all the training courses required, that’s a positive sign. The same applies if all existing workers take a new training course made available.
But it’s useful to make a clear distinction between training and refresher training.
First, people don’t remember 100% of the material thought in a training course. This is human nature and has nothing to do with the attitude of students or the skills of instructors.
Second, over the years, people forget what they learned. This happens even to the most competent workers. Again, this is human nature, not the result of something that went wrong.
Third, repetition is the best form of education. The more often people hear a specific message, the more likely they are to remember it in the future.
For these reasons and more, track participation specifically in refresher training as a leading indicator, not just training in general. Ideally, you should set a goal to have 100% of workers engaged in refresher training.
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Managing EHS Compliance Risks Through Leading Indicators
Download this White Paper from Enhesa and Enablon, and learn more about the leading indicators that measure how proactively you’re managing EHS compliance risks.