OSHA recently launched a new webpage encouraging safer workplaces through the use of leading indicators.
Leading indicators are proactive and preventive measures that can shed light on the effectiveness of safety and health activities, and reveal potential problems in a safety and health program.
One example of a leading indicator may be the amount of time it takes to respond to a safety hazards report. Responding to a report more quickly demonstrates an increased commitment to workplace safety, but a slower response can have the opposite effect. This means hazards may remain unaddressed. It could also make your employees feel like they are not being listened to, and therefore less likely to report other problems.
Some employers might be more familiar with lagging indicators, which measure the frequency and causes of incidents that have occurred in the past. Leading and lagging indicators can work well together in safety and health programs to both measure problems from the past and help plan for a better future.
In addition to keeping your employees safe, using leading indicators can also save companies money. Analysis of your workplace for risks and hazards can lower your costs for repairs, production, workers’ compensation, legal and other regulatory expenses. Fixing problems that may be revealed by leading indicators can also result in more efficiency in your regular workflow.
For more information on leading indicators, visit OSHA’s webpage.