June 19 2016
By: Terry L. Mathis
The real problem with defining safety through lagging indicators is that you don't have to be safe to get good ones. You can get good lagging indicators accidentally. There are a lot of organizations that have really excellent lagging indicators for some period with no effort at all. But such metrics are almost always short lived. They are like winning at a casino: a short period of beating the odds.
However, unlike winning at a casino, most organizations cannot pick up their chips and quit. They have to continue their operations and the real odds of the risks eventually catch up. Good lagging indicators can actually convince some that no further efforts are necessary in safety. Such decisions only speed the demise of the good lagging indicators. True excellence in safety involves great lagging indicators, but the real magic is in knowing precisely how you produced those great results and using that knowledge to produce them again, year after year.
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.