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  • Jason Starke, Ph.D.

Unlocking Safety Excellence: Navigating the World of Safety Performance Monitoring and Measurement

Updated: Feb 20


Safety management is a critical aspect of any organization, particularly when it comes to safety performance monitoring and measurement. Collecting and analyzing data allows companies to make informed decisions and improve their safety practices. In this blog post, we will delve into the significance of safety performance monitoring and measurement and how it enhances safety management.


Collecting the Right Data:

The first step in safety performance management is ensuring that the right data is collected. Organizations must identify the key metrics and information that are essential for evaluating safety performance. Without accurate and relevant data, it becomes challenging to assess the effectiveness of safety measures.


From Data to Information to Wisdom:

Once the data is collected, the next step is transforming it into meaningful information. By analyzing and interpreting the data, organizations can gain insights and identify patterns or trends. This information can then be used to make informed decisions and develop strategies to enhance safety practices. Over time, this accumulation of knowledge and experience leads to wisdom, which allows organizations to continuously improve their safety management.


Linking Objectives with Measurement:

One common issue in the industry is the lack of clear objectives and associated measurements. Objectives provide a direction and purpose, while measurements allow organizations to determine if they are successfully achieving their objectives. For example, setting a broad objective like "improve ramp safety" is a good starting point, but it needs to be broken down into actionable steps with measurable targets. By measuring progress against these targets, organizations can assess their performance and take corrective actions if needed.


High-Level Objectives vs. Actionable Objectives:

High-level objectives, such as improving safety on the ramp or fatigue management, are essential as they provide a broad focus. However, they need to be translated into specific, actionable objectives with measurable outcomes. For instance, if the objective is to improve ramp safety, organizations can establish concrete actions like certifying all line service individuals in NATA Safety First or conducting three training events. These actionable objectives ensure progress can be measured and monitored effectively.


The Role of Measurement in Safety Management:

Measurement is at the core of safety performance monitoring and management. It enables organizations to evaluate their performance against objectives and targets. For example, if the target is to have 100% of individuals certified in NATA Safety First, measuring the current certification status provides insights into progress. Without measurement, objectives become mere visions or dreams, lacking actionable steps and accountability.


Encouraging Objective-Associated Measurements:

The importance of objective-associated measurements is emphasized in safety management systems. Organizations are encouraged to develop objectives with associated measurements to ensure accountability and progress tracking. In the Baldwin system, for instance, points are awarded for objectives with associated measurements in the Safety Performance Monitoring module. This approach aligns with industry standards and regulatory requirements, including safety assessments and reporting to leadership.


Monitoring Performance and Risk Controls:

Monitoring performance is another crucial aspect of safety management. It involves tracking the effectiveness of risk controls and identifying deviations from expected performance. By monitoring risk controls, organizations can identify areas where improvement is needed and take proactive measures. Just as gauges in a car's dashboard monitor oil temperature or pressure, safety management systems monitor risk controls to ensure they are functioning as intended.


Benchmarks, Alert Levels, and Taking Action:

Monitoring requires establishing benchmarks or expected averages for performance. Additionally, organizations should set alert levels to indicate when performance deviates significantly from the expected. These alert levels act as early warning signs, enabling organizations to take immediate action and prevent potential safety issues. By continuously monitoring performance, organizations can proactively address safety concerns and enhance overall safety management.


Safety performance monitoring and measurement are vital components of effective safety management. By collecting the right data, setting clear objectives with associated measurements, and monitoring performance and risk controls, organizations can continuously improve their safety practices. Measurement provides actionable insights that enable proactive decision-making and fosters a culture of continuous improvement and safety excellence.


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