One of the things that struck me as odd when I first starting working in a manufacturing facility is the way we measured safety. The big sign on the way in to the plant indicated the number of days since the last accident. A reminder that unfortunately was set back to “1” far too often. Sometimes we wouldn’t make it into the triple digits.
Then there are the numbers we were required to report. Like the incident rate. This represented the frequency with which our process resulted in human injury.
After working as a reliability engineer and a process engineer, it was only a matter of time before I realized that we had a repeatable process that resulted in injury at a fairly reliable rate. One month might be better (lower number) than the previous month, but over time the average was fairly consistent. There was variability, but also predictability.
But what if we stopped measuring in terms of our failures, and measured the number of actions that were aimed at improving safety? How about if we report on the number of inspections held, the number of unsafe conditions corrected, and the number or actions carried out based on recommendations from incident investigations?
Every day that employees go home as whole and healthy as they came to work is a victory. Every day we take measurable actions to make sure that happens again tomorrow is a bigger win.
So what do you do to assure that tomorrow is safer than today? Do you take action to make it so, or only corrective action when an accident occurs.
You can make a difference, and you have no reason not to do so.
Thanks, and let’s be careful out there.