Workplace safety is crucial in many industries--but that doesn't mean it's always easy to measure. Here's the why and how of workplace safety measurements (and a few tips to help you get started).
Why and When To Measure
Although workplace safety is a mission that never stops, that doesn't mean you need to constantly stress over every little element. Instead, your goal is to create a company culture that encourages and empowers workplace safety automatically--and to make that happen, you need full visibility into certain safety metrics.
Regular measurement of your "workplace safety success" helps you gauge whether your approaches are working. It could also potentially save you a lot of worry by helping catch little issues before something goes wrong. Finally, consistent workplace safety measurement gives you an opportunity to check in with workers and make sure they understand the importance of these topics--and how to take responsibility for safety on the job.
But when should you schedule these measurements? It all depends on your workplace. Generally speaking, it's smart to perform checks at regular intervals--for example, every few months--unless there are significant changes in your workforce, workflows, equipment, or day-to-day processes. You should also measure workplace safety after certain incidents or accidents occur--that way, you can identify the cause and reduce the risk of another mistake.
Workplace Safety: What To Measure
The problem with checking workplace safety is that there's no number or percentage you can easily calculate. Instead, you need to put together a variety of key metrics--and that means you must know just where to look.
Here are a few important things to measure when gauging workplace safety:
#1: Training Courses
Workplace safety training courses can be a key metric in many ways. How many courses do you offer? How many people take these courses? What is the average grade or outcome? By understanding how courses impact your overall workplace safety, you can utilize these resources more effectively.
#2: Injury/Illness Rates
Injury and illness rates speak volumes about what happens in your workplace. Although they aren't always directly related to safety issues and come with certain limitations, these numbers can give you a general sense of what your workplace safety culture looks like. To get the most out of your injury/illness rates, be sure to compare them to OSHA recordable rates for your industry, which are published yearly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
#3: Reviews and Interviews
Reviews and interviews are generally focused on employee performance, but they can be a great way to learn about your workplace safety needs, too. This is a great opportunity to gather qualitative data about your safety measures, training materials, day-to-day operations, and more. Just make sure to ask questions that encourage workers to answer honestly.
You can use reviews and interviews to gather quantitative data, too. For example, you can keep track of how many times employees mention safety concerns in their interviews, or how many reviews involve a disciplinary discussion of workplace safety measures.
#4: Safety Audits
Safety audits aren't the same as workplace safety measurements. The former is far more involved and specific, often coming with regular schedules as defined by OSHA; the latter is less formal and can be done in whatever way works best for your workplace. However, that doesn't mean they're totally unrelated. Safety audits can inform your workplace safety measurements by giving you specific data about your processes, departments, training materials, and more. You can even build your workplace safety measurements based on what an audit uncovers or highlights.
#5: Safety Responses
Another important thing to measure is your safety response rate. How often do you need to respond to an incident or issue? What is the most common response, and how effective is it? This kind of information tells you what's working, what isn't, and where your workplace safety might need to improve.
In conclusion, it's important to measure workplace safety regularly. That way, you always have a clear view of your safety culture--which enables you to make proactive improvements and decisions.
Need a little help boosting your workplace safety metrics? Contact us today to learn more about our safety training courses.