The Limitations Of Safety Metrics

Safety metrics and indicators can transform your health and safety program tremendously when used correctly. Lagging indicators can help you reflect on past conditions and situations. Leading indicators guide you to look forward and pre-empt injuries and potentially harmful circumstances.

Both of these metric types have immense benefits in decision-making, building safety policy, and dealing with incidents. However, all metrics and KPIs have limitations and it’s important to understand this. We explore some of these limitations and suggest ways to bypass or deal with them.

The Limitations Of Safety KPIs & Metrics

Coming up with and planning what metrics to track might seem easy at first. However, it can be frustrating when you’re not sure when you’ve collected data only to find that you’re not sure what to do with it. How can you turn it into actionable insights? It starts with choosing good metrics and respecting that some metrics and KPIs have limitations. 

Here are some of the limitations you may encounter when using KPIs and metrics:

Data Collection Is Not Action

It’s easy to confuse the process of selecting and tracking metrics as effective action. Unfortunately, it is only one step in the safety process. 

It gives you insight into issues and potential incident causes. But, it does not prevent these issues. You need to actively implement responsive actions and processes in order to see change.

They Don’t Provide Solutions

Metrics also do not give you solutions. They can help you point to factors contributing to a problem and may illuminate possible future problems.

They do not, however, point to specific causes and present you with a solution. The onus is left on you to analyze your metrics regularly, identify patterns and potential causes or issues, and brainstorm solutions.

Taking Action Does Not Always Resolve Issues

Any action or process you implement to improve your safety metrics and KPIs will require monitoring to see if it is effective or not.

Actively keep an eye on decisions taken to see their progress. Where necessary, tweak your approach. Further, do not take your metric insight as final. Any pattern you discover may change, so you want to keep tracking safety metrics even once you’ve noted an issue.


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The Key To Good Metrics

The key behind a good metric is information about the actions that happen in relation to another value. You should be able to measure and compare them over time periods, against competitors, or across user groups. This enables you to monitor your performance in the areas you are measuring.  

The data from your metrics and KPIs should inform actions with the goal of improving these metrics and the relevant areas of your organisation.


Final Thoughts

Using safety metrics is a great way to gauge the efficacy of your safety programs and policies. Metrics inform your decision-making, actions, processes, and so much more.

Understanding where metric limitations arise can help you use them better and reflect on data in fitting ways. It also reminds you KPIs and metrics are simply numbers. You have to take action and drive change actively!


If you're looking for a platform to collect more data to have better safety metrics, we've got you covered. Falcony is easy-to-use, boosts two-way communication, has customisable workflows, automated analytics, vast integration possibilities and more. Start your 30-day trial or contact us for more information.

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