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ASSESSING YOUR COMPANY SAFETY PERFORMANCE: HOW DO YOU MEASURE UP?

Measuring the success of safety efforts is an integral part of the overall safety and health program. If it doesn't get
measured it usually doesn't get done or at least not very well. Keeping good records will help identify safety and health
trends; recognize problematic areas and opportunities; and provide the information necessary to start developing
solutions. It can also be used to show positive results from a good return on investment; an excellent way to keep
senior management committed to safety.
When was the last time anyone experienced a production or quality process that wasn't being measured? Safety can
be just as profitable to an organization as production, quality or good inventory control. In order to be effective, safety
must be managed like any other major business function.
The first step is to determine what to measure, how to measure it and how often. The normal starting point is to
measure the accident frequency rate and the injury frequency rate. This will show how many accidents are occurring
and how many of them involve employee injuries (and most likely workers' compensation claims). In addition, these
rates can be used to compare results with averages in the same industry. To calculate these rates use the formulas
below.
Accident Frequency Rate = Number of accidents x 200,000 / Employee-hours worked
Injury Frequency Rate = Number of accidents resulting in injury x 200,000 / Employee-hours worked
Similar rates may be calculated for the occurrence of illnesses.
Illness Frequency Rate = Number of illnesses x 200,000 / Employee-hours worked
These rates demonstrate the degree of risk an organization has, i.e. how often undesirable things occur.
The next step is to find the other component of the organization's risk, which is when undesirable things occur, how bad
are they. This is demonstrated using injury and illness severity rates. They can be calculated as shown below.
Injury Severity Rate = Lost workdays due to injury x 200,000 / Employee-hours worked
Illness Severity Rate = Lost workdays due to illness x 200,000 / Employee-hours worked
Another way to view this is to look at the organization's total severity, which is calculated by the formula below.
Lost workdays due to Injuries and illnesses (LWDII) = Lost workdays due to injury and illness x 200,000 / Employee-
hours worked
Establishing a performance baseline is an important measure of where you are now. From here, set goals on where
you'd like to be in 6 months, one year, and five years. Then you are able to identify the barriers to better performance
and set strategies on how to achieve your goals.
After establishing a safety performance benchmark, the final step it to find exactly what the organization's problems,
systems faults and employees' unsafe behaviors are. For this, a very thorough safety and health program assessment
needs to be conducted. During an assessment, several key parameters are analyzed.
 Safety management structure and performance
 Safety orientation and training
 Medical Management
 Written safety program's completeness and degree of implementation
 Physical Hazard Control
 Employee attitude and perception
How do you perform an assessment? First, establish the parameters to be measured. Next, determine importance of
each parameter to the overall safety efforts. Then, the key parameters can be objectively measured by conducting
surveys, interviews, observations, etc. As a result, similarities and divergence between the data help draw many useful
conclusions and allow effective corrections to be implemented.

Uses for Severity Rate


The severity rate helps managers assess the dangers inherent in their workplaces. If the severity rate is low, then the
average accident leads to a minimal disruption in production. When the severity rate is high, managers will see that an
average safety incident can lead to major production losses. At Fictional Construction, an average accident leads to a
worker being out for 12.5 days, or 2.5 work weeks at five days per week. High severity rates can lead to loss of
business, employee dissatisfaction and scrutiny from government agencies such as OSHA.