Many organisations have defined key productivity indicators (KPIs) to measure their business performance, report against achievements, and provide dashboard views for managers and executives. However, outside of high-risk industry sectors, it is far less common to find organisations with a well-defined set of KPIs relating to health and safety. Even those who have taken this step tend to focus on measuring workplace accidents as their sole health and safety metric, but the ‘health’ part of this equation is just as important to consider.
Although each organisation has its own needs and priorities, we have listed some of the leading health and safety KPIs you might want to consider as a starting point.
Some KPI measures are known as “leading indicators” others are “lagging indicators”. A leading indicator is a measure that can be done without an incident, accident, or property damage occurring. These are useful in predicting and preventing future events and are often linked to processes or targeted activities. A lagging indicator is one that shows the number and severity of something that has already occurred. In a sense, lagging indicators are measuring failures in health and safety. Examples of leading indicators are audits, behaviours, inspections, and surveys. Examples of lagging indicators are lost time incidents, minor accidents, days lost, absence data and property damage.
1. Number of incidents or accidents
This is a “lagging” indicator as it measures after the incident or accident has taken place. As a metric, you will be looking for a decrease in numbers as a percentage of your employee base. If you see a rise in numbers, corrective actions can typically include changing environmental conditions, amending processes and regulations, or increasing awareness training.
2. Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR)
This is a standard measure used to calculate the number of injuries incurred in a million working hours. As a measure based on a standard calculation, it is one that health and safety bodies typically report on across industry sectors, enabling you to benchmark your LTIFR with others. To calculate LTIFR, you multiply the number of lost-time injuries by 1,000,000 and divide this by the total number of hours worked in an organisation. So, if you have 10 lost-time injuries from 4 million hours worked, your LTIFR is 2.5.
3. Percentage of productive days
By calculating the percentage of productive days in your organisation, you are taking a more positive view of the impact of low sickness, injury and accident rates. Depending on your company culture, this can provide a better way to measure the same workplace dynamic essentially. This calculation takes the number of days worked as a percentage of the available working days. For example, if from 100 employees you lose 50 days due to health and safety issues, your productivity is calculated as 100 x 315 days = 31500 days out of the possible 36500 days, which equates to (31500/36500) x 100 = 86%.
This metric can also be important if you include an analysis of the cause of the lost days. For example, data analysis may highlight cause for concern with employee mental health and well-being or identify a problem that could worsen over time. Examining the lost days’ cost may trigger a budget change to invest in health and well-being programmes or other support initiatives such as providing gym membership or recreational facilities in the workplace.
4. Number of formal audits undertaken
This measure needs to be carefully defined as the targets depend very much on the type of workplace. For example, an office environment may have two safety audits per year, whereas a forklift operation requires an inspection before every use.
Nevertheless, this metric highlights compliance with legislative requirements and should always be 100% of the target set. One of the key benefits of this leading indicator is that it visibly demonstrates to employees that the organisation takes health and safety seriously.
5. Training pass rates and compliance
Measuring the pass rate of employees undertaking training indicates the level of awareness and preparedness of the workforce to pay due regard to health and safety requirements. Another training metric which can be critical for some roles is the level of compliance with recurrent training. For example, in an airport environment, only those holding valid licenses are authorised to work with dangerous goods. Licenses must be renewed within a fixed period, which means that recurrent training and licencing must be carefully scheduled ahead of time to ensure continuity of operations.
6. Average time to resolve reported hazards
Monitoring how long it takes on average to resolve hazards from the time they’re first reported is essential in maintaining a safe working environment, creating confidence amongst employees and encouraging a culture of health and safety awareness and reporting. It also enables you to pinpoint particular risk areas and take preventative measures to avoid similar future incidents. Typically you might expand this measure to include how many incidents were opened and closed in a given period and how many were closed within a target timeframe.
7. Number of incidents caused by human factors
This is an excellent metric to have when your environments include dangerous equipment, specific safety issues such as contamination risks, and where shift work is frequent. This measure isolates those incidents where workplace behaviours play an essential role in maintaining health and safety. By isolating causes, specific action can be taken to change environmental factors and mitigate the risks.
8. Workplace inspections
The main difference between an audit and an inspection is that the inspection is a spot check at any point in time. In contrast, an audit is a formal and timetabled activity that happens less frequently during the year and covers every element involved in a process. Audits are sometimes carried out by external and impartial parties to ensure the process’s accuracy and thoroughness.
Workplace inspections are a good way of getting employees engaged in monitoring health and safety. Still, it can be challenging to ensure consistency and set appropriate quality levels to be met by all inspectors.
The above KPIs are not an exhaustive list, but if you select even a few of those you feel apply best in your organisation, you will have taken a positive step forward in promoting health and safety in the workplace.
Why not contact us at HRBluSky today to learn how we can help you better monitor your health and safety practices.