December 10 2017
By: Terry L. Mathis
It is critical to let safety data provide at least a starting place for safety improvement. We have been called in as consultants to many organizations that began their safety-improvement efforts based on perceived needs or off-the-shelf programs, only to find the results they wanted were not accomplished. Accident and sometimes near-miss data can tell a valuable story when analyzed wisely. Unfortunately, many data-analysis methodologies are only descriptive and not prescriptive. The right kind of analysis can provide a starting place for focusing improvement efforts and often provide an accurate picture of the gap between current performance and excellence.
Working with an organization that has many small sites with very little site-specific accident data, we used the whole company's data to develop the focus and now have each site comparing their data to the main focus areas selected. It is important to remember data only provides a starting place and that starting place needs to be verified by ongoing data, observations and experience. Don't fly your improvement efforts by the seat of your pants - use your data!
Terry Mathis, Founder and CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.