Analytics: a new approach to performance management

This week, I traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts to the ASSE Prove It: Measuring Safety Performance Symposium and co-presented with Dave Duden of Deloitte. Our session was titled “Analytics: A New Approach to Performance Management.” Over 200 safety and health professionals were in introduced to this new approach at this symposium.

Safety analytics is an emerging science that can drive improvements not only in workforce safety and health programs, but also in overall business performance. Today’s software solutions and systems have simplified the gathering, analysis and reporting of increasing amounts and types of data, enabling safety professionals to create leading indicators of your organization’s risks.

In our session, we discussed how to access the information needed for these analytics, how to develop these metrics and the benefits experienced by companies that use them.

How Can Safety Analytics Improve Workforce Safety and Health Programs?
Safety analytics delivers information and insights that can guide a broad range of decisions. Its power is fundamentally predictive — on the most basic level, the tools and methods of this science help workforce safety and health professionals to more quickly and more accurately identify the jobs, processes, locations, groups of individuals, conditions and so on that represent the most immediate, severe or costly risks.

For example, one tool that is especially powerful with safety analytics is a Risk Severity Index (RSI) — a formula incorporating weighted variables like expected frequency of an unsafe behavior, nature/severity of injury/loss if uncorrected, number of people potentially affected, and more. Such an index, tailored to your specific workplace, provides a consistent, objective guide for prioritizing the most urgent safety and health risks that need to be addressed. Resources — and especially time — are always limited, and an RSI helps ensure that training and other preventive measures are directed where they’ll have the most impact. Clearly, if a process has a high probability of unsafe incidents and such incidents could shut down production or lead to severe injury, that merits greater attention than processes that rarely go awry and have minimal consequences. Some of these distinctions may be obvious in a given industry or workplace, but others are more subtle — though no less costly — and are rarely caught until after an incident occurs. By focusing more attention on leading indicators rather than relying primarily on lagging indicators, safety analytics helps you make these critical distinctions before incidents occur. If you’d like to learn more about safety analytics, read my recent white paper Safety Analytics: The Future of Workforce Safety and Health Programs.