Positive Performance Indicators – Why You Should Care

For many people health and safety is about things not happening – Near misses, injuries property damage or lost work time to name a few.  While this is an important part of any safety system, it can create the wrong impression for workers that it’s all about not doing things.

Why is this a problem?

If workers feel like it’s all about doing nothing they become less engaged, less likely to actively look for ways to be safe and more likely to think that safety is someone else’s problem.
A key way to get around this it to use positive performance indicators along with your targets.

What are Positive Performance Indicators?

PPIs are active measures an organization takes to achieve its targets.  They drive the safety process in the workplace and lead to improvements.

PPIs don’t replace outcome based performance measures, like fewer injuries.  You can think of them as the steps you take to reach those outcomes.  Let’s take a look at how this works.

A workplace example:

You may have the target of reducing injuries caused by hand tools.  You could take the approach of hammering home the message “be safer with hand tools!”  and that may have some effect.  But it may also create the impression of “we don’t trust you, we’re looking over your shoulder.”

However if you include some PPIs in the goal, you can be more successful.  Some sample PPIs you could use to help you reach your target are:

  • Maintain check and sharpen the tools every week
  • Specific safety talks on how to use the tools correctly
  • Replace old hand tools over a specific age

How do you set the right PPIs?

Obviously this example doesn’t apply to everyone.  Different industries and workplace environments will require different outcomes and specific PPIs that relate to those outcomes.  You need to pick the right targets to aim for or else they will be ignored.

A good checklist to follow when looking for the right performance indicators is S.M.A.R.T.:

  • SPECIFIC – They directly relate to your goal and what you want to improve.
  • MEASURABLE – You can collect information about the goals that is accurate and complete
  • ACTIONABLE – Easy to understand and easy to put into practice
  • RELEVANT – they are important to your company and workplace
  • TIMELY – You can assess your success without having to wait so long that the information becomes irrelevant.

Where to from here?

Choosing the right positive performance indicators can go a long way to achieving your health and safety outcomes.  You need to take the right amount of time and talk to the workers who are affected to find out what will help them be safer.  And you need to follow through and make the change happen.

If you need help with getting your WHS system on track please contact us  on 1300 130 385 and we can help you get on the way to setting and reaching your goals.

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