Annual Safety Goals
With the coming of each new year, we have the opportunity to set safety goals. The premise for the setting of safety goals is so that we know what we want to achieve in the end. We set up objectives or milestones or performance indicators so that we know that we are meeting or we are working toward meeting our ultimate goals. The setting of safety goals is similar to that of planning a trip. Very few people travel without knowing where they are going, what route they are to travel, or when they plan to arrive at their destination… What do we need to reach the goal? How do we know if we are going to meet that goal? Read More…
With the coming of each new year, we have the opportunity to set safety goals. The premise for the setting of safety goals is so that we know what we want to achieve in the end. We set up objectives or milestones or performance indicators so that we know that we are meeting or we are working toward meeting our ultimate goals. The setting of safety goals is similar to that of planning a trip.
Very few people travel without knowing where they are going, what route they are to travel, or when they plan to arrive at their destination. The goal is to arrive at a certain location within a specific time period. What do we need to reach this goal? How do we know if we are going to meet that goal? What adjustments do we need to make so that we arrive at a certain location within a specific time period? This is where the milestones or key performance indicators become important. For our trip, we may have milestones of being at certain locations at certain times. For example, about 15 years ago, I took atrip with my three kids to Evansville IN for a wedding. It was going to take about 12 hours of travel time, non-stop and that was not going to happen with three kids. My milestones were that at each mealtime, I know what city we would be near so we could start looking for signs along the highway for restaurants at each exit. Because of this method of planning, the kids knew to look for specific cities and signs for available restaurants keeping them busy during the trip. Ultimately, we ate at the same fast-food restaurant all three meals in three different locations. We also ran into construction that slowed down travel. We also had to make bathroom breaks because not all four of us could get on the same bathroom break schedule. By having these milestones of where we were supposed to be at each mealtime, I could tell if we were on schedule or behind schedule. We were getting behind schedule because of the slow traffic and additional breaks so adjustments were made on the fly such as reducing the amount of time at breaks, reducing the amount of time at restaurants allowing the kids to eat in the vehicle while I drove after I finished eating. I would not have known if we were on schedule or behind schedule without having the milestones identified.
Back to safety goals, we need to have milestones or key performance indicators identified so that we can make adjustments on the fly if we are not meeting our goals.
An example is in a quality assurance lab at a plastics extrusion plant with one of the safety goals being to reduce the number/eliminate burns in the lab to zero. One performance indicators may be that by the end of the first quarter, review burn incidents in the previous two years to develop a list of equipment/tasks involved in such injuries. Another performance indicator might be by the end of the second quarter, conduct hazard assessments on the equipment/tasks involved and develop a corrective actions plan. Yet another performance indicator could be to implement corrective actions on the top 50% of the equipment/tasks by end of year. These performance indicators could also be called leading indicators. From tracking these performance indicators or leading indicators on a regular and frequent basis, monthly for example, the organization can determine if they are going to meet their goal or if they need to make adjustments on the fly organization can accelerate their efforts or change their methodology so that the performance indicators are being completed which will lead to the goal being met. Without the performance indicators, the only measure of success is the number of burns – was it reduced to zero?
At the end of the year, without performance indicators, the only thing we can determine is success or failure of achieving our goal. However, with performance indicators, we can track our progress to meeting the goal making the necessary changes in real-time to immediately positively affect the outcomes. This improves our likelihood of achieving the goal.
When setting safety goals, they should support the overall business goals. Identifying performance indicators or leading indicators greatly improve our ability to accomplish our safety goals.