The Evolution of Safety Metrics

October 13 2019
By: Terry L. Mathis

Over the past decades, safety and organizational leaders have begun to see the inadequacy of simply measuring their safety failures. Recordable rates and loss times are descriptive metrics, but they are not prescriptive or predictive. The urge to be more proactive has sent leaders looking for what they call "leading indicators." This is a movement from one-dimensional to two-dimensional thinking. The trouble is, the world is a three-dimensional place.

The best organizations have realized, or are realizing, that not all leading indicators directly impact lagging indicators. The best model to emulate is the one used in other business areas: A Balanced Scorecard. This model generally has three sets of leading indicators which influence each other in order.The Evolution of Safety Metrics Certain activities drive culture. Culture drives performance. Performance drives lagging indicators. Such a set of metrics begins to develop enough data to understand the relationship between these, and ultimately reveal what Deming called "profound knowledge" of what it takes to develop excellent safety results.

Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and retired 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.

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