How to set KPIs for health and safety

How to set KPIs for health and safety
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Safety in an organisation is often cited as the number one imperative. An inherent safety culture with a track record that reflects high standards is something a business can pride itself on. To understand how safe an organisation is, targets must be set, monitored and measured, and any areas for improvement identified and actioned. That’s where Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) come in. Health and safety KPIs will vary by organisation and it’s the role of the health and safety manager to set KPIs that are appropriate for their workplace.

What should be measured?

The first step in setting health and safety KPIs should be clarifying precisely what needs to be measured, and how it can be measured. Keeping track of the number of accidents and incidents is essential, but additional KPIs such as Lost Time Injury (LTI), Frequency Rates and Incidence Rates help give a clearer picture of the impact that accidents and injuries have on your workplace. However, even organisations with low LTI rates can experience catastrophic injuries, so KPIs should be set that delve further into a workplace’s safety maturity. Looking beyond accident rates to ensure the workforce is not just reacting to hazards, rather than simply anticipating them, is an important cultural factor to embed into a company’s ethos.

The potential list of KPIs is exhaustive, but the following are examples that might be relevant:

  • Percentage of Productive Days – rather than looking at the number of sick days and time off, ensure KPIs are framed positively
  • Percentage of Management Trained in Health and Safety – this KPI can be used to identify if there’s a pattern between training and a reduction in accidents
  • Average Overtime Hours Per Person – consider setting this number low to manage fatigue in the workplace.

How should progress be monitored?

Establishing a performance measurement system, as outlined by the Health & Safety Executive, puts the buildings blocks in place to monitor KPI progress. These steps include:

  • Identifying the key processes
  • Analysing the management arrangements and risk control systems to process a process map and identify critical KPIs for each
  • Establishing baselines for each KPI
  • Setting goals and targets for each KPI
  • Assigning responsibility for collecting and analysing data
  • Comparing performance against targets

How can improvements be made?

Securing board-level buy-in to health and safety and KPIs. Reporting the best possible information to the board in a way that is concise and action-led is vital to ensure meaningful change takes place when necessary, and that health and safety targets are met and improved.

Regularly reviewing KPIs will help ensure continual improvement of workplace health and safety. Consider gaps in coverage to ensure nothing is being missed and assess whether your KPIs are balanced and give the correct emphasis to the most pertinent issues. Reflect on the frequency of reporting – is there too much or too little? And, crucially, assess whether the KPIs are effective in driving change and improvement.

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