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Assess lead, not just lag, indicators of safety

Most executives and safety managers track safety incidents and focus on fixing the causes. These lag indicators (reactive measures) are the traditional way to address the cause of safety incidents. But does this approach show whether there is a constructive and robust safety culture on the shop floor, on site or on the tarmac?

A number of industries have been investigating a range of lead indicators (predictive measures) of safety. These can be added to important lag indicators to generate a more proactive and holistic approach to safety management. Safety culture is a key lead indicator that is attracting a lot of attention and has been the subject of research over the past two decades. In broad terms it measures “how important safety is around here” and researchers like Dr. M.D. Cooper consider it a subset of the wider organisational culture.

Insync Surveys’ Safety Culture Survey is based on leading research and measures four factors to determine an organisation’s level of safety culture and engagement:

  • Psychological – do I feel safe at work?
  • Behavioural – are our work behaviours safe?
  • Situational – do we have safety systems and procedures in place?
  • Employee engagement – do I feel engaged with my workplace?

The results of the Safety Culture Survey reveal to senior management:

  • whether existing safety systems are adequate in the eyes of the employees
  • if team leaders who talk the safety talk actually walk the safety walk
  • whether employees feel safe at work

Measuring employees’ understanding and expectations of safety culture, while continuing to track safety incidents, gives organisations a complete view of their safety climate. Introducing safety lead indicators means organisations can be proactive about safety, something everyone from employees on the floor to the company directors should find reassuring.

For more information see details of Insync Surveys’ Safety Culture Survey or contact us.

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