The 4 Categories Of Safety Metrics

Measuring and monitoring safety should be at the top of all organisations’ priorities. Metrics help to evaluate safety conditions and the effectiveness of safety plans. But, determining what metrics to track can be a challenge.

There are four categories that can help you verify whether a metric works for evaluating safety. These categories allow you to select good metrics to use for your program. We’ll take a look at this below and explain the four categories.

What Qualifies Good Safety Metrics?

To decide whether a metric is good for measuring safety, you need to understand what you want to achieve with it. 

Metrics provide you with actionable insights and data that you can use to adapt and improve your health and safety plan. You can use them to identify facets of your plan that need adjusting. They provide a framework to gauge the effectiveness of your safety processes and policies.


How To Know If You Found The Right Metrics To Track?

To help you determine if you’ve chosen good metrics to track, you can put them to the test in the following four metric categories:


1. Comparative

Good safety metrics don't exist in isolation. Safety is an area of business and organisational management that interacts with other factors. It influences and is influenced by things such as costs, time, capacity, employee satisfaction, and more. 

Your metrics should also enable you to compare your business to equivalent groups and your industry competitors. This allows you to see if you meet the industry benchmark.


2. Understandable

There is no point in selecting a metric that nobody can understand. You and your employees need to be able to track progress and evaluate it accurately. You cannot do that if the metric is confusing.

You can gauge if people lack understanding of a metric by seeing if they can remember the details of it and what exactly it is measuring. They should also be able to speak on it and explain the insights one can glean from it.


3. Ratio-based

Of course, simple numbers communicate information but ratios better serve you in your safety mandate. Ratios give a comparative look into the data. 

For example, it helps to measure the frequency of insights for health and safety. Knowing the total number of incident reports you collect is helpful, but it doesn't tell you much about the effectiveness of your safety program. 

However, tracking how many reports you receive per month or annually gives you a sense of whether your safety efforts make an impact. You could receive ten reports over two years or ten in a month, which gives insights into how effective your safety efforts are and when they need attention. 


4. Behaviour Changing

The fundamental role of safety metrics is to illuminate how you can bring transformation into your health and safety management. They give you data and insights but it’s up to you what you actually do with that data and whether you make it actionable. 

How will you adapt your program using the data? What changes will you make in your health and safety plan? A good metric will give you the perspective you need to make choices that improve your safety culture.

An example of a good safety metric to track for behaviour transformation is the frequency of near misses. Near misses tell you about the conditions that can cause harm in your workplace so you can deal with them before serious incidents. It can allow you to institute preventative measures or correct flaws.


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The Best Ways To Track Safety Metrics

There are many ways that you can track safety metrics. What you choose to implement depends on your institutional capacity, costs, and more. Consider these options to help you monitor your safety metrics:


Assign One Person Or A Team For Accountability

Knowing who to chat to about safety or having a face to the system can help employees feel more comfortable about talking about issues. It also makes it possible to get them to account if issues go unaddressed.


Get Everyone Involved

Many safety metrics rely on the engagement of your staff as they have more insight into how safe their workspace is. You need to encourage them to report and speak about their safety concerns. If you communicate some of the metrics you wish to track, your employees can also actively update you on them. This is an all-hands-on-deck approach that can also nurture a strong safety and support culture.


Use Safety Management Software

Safety management software is a great investment for any organisation. It can help you collect and organise the numbers. It also makes it easier to analyse patterns and trends in data and frequencies. 

Many software systems have a compliance element, too, which can help you set up and follow metrics that keep you compliant. 

Finally, there's a lot of administrative effort that goes into organising numbers. And nobody enjoys working on an Excel spreadsheet. The software can automate the admin of tracking metrics.


Final Thoughts

Metrics are a key way to define and track the success and progress of your safety infrastructure. But you can't reap the gains of metric monitoring if you don’t pick the right ones. If you’re watching the wrong metrics, you won't be able to make the changes needed to improve occupational safety.

Deciding if a metric is ‘right’ can be difficult and it takes a bit of trial and error. You may need to experiment a bit to create a system that works for you. You’ll also certainly have to conduct research into industry standards and popular metrics.

Use the four metric categories above to help you narrow down and pick the ones that work. This doesn't just need to be something you do at the beginning of your metric watching process. You can use the categories to evaluate metrics as you go along. Safety evolves over time and so should your approach.


If your organisation is looking for a 360° safety management tool to involve all employees, service providers and external stakeholders to improve the quality of your operations, have a look at the 30-day free trial of the Falcony Platform:

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We are building the world's first operational involvement platform. Our mission is to make the process of finding, sharing, fixing and learning from issues and observations as easy as thinking about them and as rewarding as being remembered for them.‍

By doing this, we are making work more meaningful for all parties involved.

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