Lifting Operations

Lifting Operations

Understanding Safety: Lifting Operations

ANDY TILLEARD

Health and Safety Consultant at EazySAFE

This discussion looks at the safety issues that are related to lifting operations, including equipment and accessories and what general arrangements need to be in place to safely manage this type of hazardous work.

Lifting operations cover a surprisingly wide range of workplace activities and equipment, ranging from the use of mobile and fixed cranes, forklift trucks and other similar self-propelled workplace vehicles, lifting platforms on vehicles for people and goods, systems for lifting performers in the entertainment industry and mobile elevated work platforms for lifting and positioning people.

Emergency situation on aircraft
Hotel Emergency Exits

Not only should lifting equipment be considered in terms of their special lifting capacity, but also as work equipment.

Exit door of an aircraft

Rather than focus upon one particular aspect of lifting operations, this discussion will address:

  • The minimum elements that need to be in place for lifting equipment as work equipment.
  • The issues that need to be managed for safe lifting.

For work equipment overall, which will also include equipment used for lifting operations, the general employer obligations include:

 

  • Regular maintenance and appropriate inspections.
  • Instruction and supervision of employees.
  • The provision of training and information for its safe operation.
  • Safety and hazard signage that is suitable and provides relevant information to users and third parties.
  • Suitable control devices, guards and other protective devices to prevent injuries to employees and third parties.

The legal framework

The legal framework for lifting operations and associated equipment is based upon the general requirements of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 relating to the provision of safe work equipment. The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, 2007 as amended deals with lifting operations and lifting equipment within the various clauses covered in Part 1, Chapter 2 – Use of Work Equipment. The clauses are often specific to a different type of lifting equipment; general requirements for all work equipment used for lifting loads, work equipment used for lifting both goods and people, cranes including scotch and guy derrick cranes, hoists and lifts, specific instructions required when people are to be lifted and lifting non-guided loads. A scotch crane, by the way, is an older style of crane design with a mast supported by a back brace with a boom that extends from the base of the mast.

Technical elements

We can think that lifting equipment as the machinery for the lifting of loads and lifting accessories are those items that are between the lifting equipment and the load itself, specifically items such as shackles, chains, harnesses, barrel clamps, spreader bars and other items that attach between the load and the lifting device. In the UK, lifting equipment covers both of these terms under LOLER.

Lifting equipment must be:

  • Lifting equipment is appropriate for the task and clearly marked with its safe working load (SWL). The certified testing of lifting equipment is the only time a certified SWL can be is exceeded.
  • Lifting equipment used to lift or position people must be designed for that task. The use of forklift trucks and teleporters to lift people off of the ground to work at height are unfortunately not uncommon events on worksites.
  • Lifting equipment is examined, tested and certified by a competent person according to requirements.

 

Organisational elements

Employers need to ensure that organisational issues are in place:

  • Do lifting operations come under an organisations permit to work system? This will depend upon how an organisation assesses the hazard of lifting activities. Offshore, lifting operations are often considered as a PTW activity.
  • These activities are risk assessed from both a generic perspective for repetitive activities or task-specific for one-off or non-standard lifts.
  • Lifting operations are planned. Some organisations have adopted a lifting plan approach to these types of operations. These plans consider all elements of the lift such as pre-use equipment inspections, what barriers are in place, risks from simultaneous operations in the immediate area, PPE requirements, roles and responsibilities for supervising both the lift and the people involved, communications prior to and during the lift (including a toolbox meeting) and how the lift will proceed or indeed stop due to certain circumstances (such as changes in weather).
  • All people involved are considered competent for their roles. For example, the lifting equipment or crane operator, riggers and slingers, banksmen and any others who have defined roles and responsibilities must be both trained and have the necessary experience to be competent.
  • Lifting registers and records of inspections and testing are maintained so that all parties can have confidence that lifting systems are certified, fit for purpose and in operational condition.

As a part of the risk assessment process, people must be protected from being underneath suspended loads and avoid moving loads over unprotected people. This is especially true where third parties may be present such as the public, site visitors or contractors who may not be aware of the lift or were not involved in the planning phase.

Lifting operations can cover both simple and complex tasks and also utilise a wide range of equipment types and accessories. The approach to take is dependent upon the identified and assessed risks and having adequate controls in place to effectively manage those. Not only should lifting equipment be considered in terms of their special lifting capacity, but also as work equipment to be managed properly outside of their work activity.

Related Posts

Wellbeing in Times of Uncertainty

Wellbeing in Times of Uncertainty

 Wellbeing in Times of Uncertainty ALAN WHITEWellness Consultant at EazySAFENever in living memory have our lives changed so drastically than over the past number of days. New phrases such as 'social distancing' and 'self-isolating' form part of the global...

Developing Organisational & Employee Resilience

Developing Organisational & Employee Resilience

Small Acts of Persistence Developing Organisational and Employee ResilienceALAN WHITE Wellness Consultant at EazySAFE One of the key pillars of personal wellbeing is the ability to overcome setbacks and challenges. Being able to do this develops our sense of...

The Benefits of Health and Safety Induction Training

The Benefits of Health and Safety Induction Training

The Benefits of Health and Safety Induction Training

Gemma Collins Doyle

Health and Safety Consultant at EazySAFE

Everyone that visits your site should have some kind of formal induction. Each induction will need to cover different topics, for example, Visitors won’t need to know how to fill out a permit to work form, but they will need to know where their assembly point is, in the event of an emergency. 

So, there are three main groups that will benefit from carrying out a safety induction: Visitors, New Employees, Contractors

Yoga Session

“Knowledge is power and in this case, it could be a matter of life or death, so make sure your induction process is up to scratch.”

The visitor induction

The visitor induction should cover just the basics of the site. It is important the following topics are covered:
 

  • Any required PPE needed for their visit
  • What to do in the event of an emergency
  • Where their assembly point is located
  • General safety rules on site
  • Smoking rules on site
  • Safety walkways
  • Parking
  • Welfare facilities
  • The contractor induction 

    A contractor induction will need to be detailed and more technical. A contractor induction is a really important part of the overall safety management system. All sites have some sort of contractors, some more than others. Ensuring they carry out an in-depth induction before they commence work on site is critical to their safety and the safety of others on site.  A contractor induction should include the following:
     

    • Everything in the visitor induction
    • PPE requirements for each area and work that will be carried out
    • Permit to work system
    • Site rules
    • Safe operating procedures (like working at height, confined spaces, ladder use, hot work etc.)
    • Sign in and out procedure
    • Accident/incident reporting procedure

    The employee induction

    An employee induction will have more information about the company mission regarding health and safety. It will also cover the specifics about how an employee can ensure their own safety and inform them about how they can get involved. Some employee inductions will have more than one format, an online version, a one to one, a site tour and/or a group session.

    Why should you carry out Safety Induction Training?

    Under the legislation, you have a responsibility to ensure everyone that visits or works on your site is kept safe. To do this, they need to have knowledge of how the company works, what the risks may be, what the safety rules are etc. The best way to give them this knowledge is to share it with them in an induction format. Induction training can be done online or in a classroom setting.

    What are the benefits of Safety Induction Training?

    As already mentioned above, you are required by law to ensure all employees, visitors and contractors are kept safe while working or visiting your site. So, the number one benefit is that you are ensuring everyone’s safety by giving them an induction and number two, you are adhering to health and safety legislation!

    Not giving these groups the information, they need, before they come onto your site is like giving them a blindfold and leaving them at it! Knowledge is power and in this case, it could be a matter of life or death, so make sure your induction process is up to scratch.

    Ensuring you have an excellent Induction program in place, will bring with it, the following benefits:

    • A possible reduction in your insurance premiums
    • A boost to your company’s reputation
    • Fewer accidents and incidents
    • Having an online induction will free up time for managers
    • A uniformed approach to health and safety on site
    • You will know who has completed an induction and who has not
    • You will be able to add a quiz at the end of the induction to assess a person’s competence
    • Maps, videos and pictures can be added to the induction to give all groups a good knowledge of the site and will make the induction more interesting.
    • Will help to promote the area of health and safety
    • All groups will be informed of your health and safety mission for your company
    • A company that has a good induction, will instil confidence in a person before they ever begin work/visit your site. By educating people about health and safety on your site, you will have set a positive tone before they even begin.
    • You will be complying with legislation
    • You will be protecting life and preventing injuries for all employees, contractors and visitors.
    • You will get your point across in a structured and managed way

    From my own experience, online inductions have worked well for me and any of the companies that I have done work for in the past. Setting up an online induction will take time initially, but once it is in place, you can add or take away from it very easily. Using pictures, videos and maps ensure that the induction is kept interesting and informative. Online inductions are so easy to manage, links can be sent to trainees before they ever step foot on site, you can monitor who has completed the training or what their score was. Of course, sometimes you may want to add a classroom version of inductions too. Many companies hold an annual classroom-based contractor induction for example, as well as an online version.

    Whichever you decide on, just make sure you have a health and safety induction in place and review it annually. Be proactive, don’t wait for an accident to happen or for your insurance company to tell you to put one in place, you’re better than that!

    Promoting a Culture of Safety

    Promoting a Culture of Safety

    Promoting a Culture of Safety

    GEMMA COLLINS DOYLE

    Health and Safety Consultant at EazySAFE

    Safety Culture is probably one of the most important aspects of safety management, and probably the most difficult to implement.

    Whether you are a safety professional, supervisor, manager or an employee of a company, you need to consider the importance of creating a strong safety culture within your Organisation. The rewards are tenfold and will ensure that the quality of life at work, at home and on the road improves for all employees. Indirectly, a robust safety culture at work helps employees and their families avoid debilitating and life-changing injuries or incidents that can result from on-the-job and off-the-job injuries/incidents. It’s a win-win for everyone.

    Emergency situation on aircraft
    Hotel Emergency Exits

    “Changing the culture, can take a few years, it’s a gradual thing, but the rewards start happening early on in the process.

    Exit door of an aircraft

    By developing a strong health and safety culture in your workplace, you will more than likely reduced the number of accidents and incidents, which in turn will significantly reduce the negative impact to the bottom line of the company and will increase business efficiency and sustainability. 

    Before you get started

    Changing the safety culture within your company will be different for everyone, some companies are further along and others are only beginning. For some companies, changing the culture can take a few years, it’s a gradual thing, but the rewards start happening early on in the process.

    When people realise that someone actually cares, they begin to care themselves and good things start happening! It’s a domino effect.

    The following should be reviewed first:
     

    • Commitment from senior management
    • A gap analysis should be carried out of the entire safety system
    • Designated health and safety employee
    • Training and education
    • Involvement by employees
    • Use of EHS tools and standards
    • Sustainability – continuous improvement

    Commitment from Senior Management

    Top of the list! Without the full on commitment from senior management, you may as well pack up your safety boots and hi-vis jacket and head to the next company. Without their 100% buy-in, you will as a safety professional, be constantly chasing your tale, defending the company and firefighting. Start at the top, educate senior management, get their commitment, make it visible to the employees. They must be fully on board. Once you have this in place, then and only then you can start filtering down and getting into the nitty-gritty. Senior management needs to be proactive in developing a positive safety and health culture for the workplace.

    Gap Analysis

    Where is the company at right now, in regards to a good safety culture? What’s working, what’s not working?

    Create a starting point for your present safety culture, highlighting the strengths and opportunities for improvement. When this has been completed, you can create a vision and improvement strategy and communicate it to all employees. It is critical that this is communicated to the employees by the CEO. This report/announcement can detail the assessment results and how the company is going to improve things going forward.

     

    Appoint a designated Health and Safety person

    The area of health and safety deserves an appointed person to manage it. If you are a small company, you may start off with this person doing full time for a few months and then reducing down to part-time after the main hurdles are crossed. In a bigger company, you will need a full-time health and safety employee or consultant. Either way, without this commitment, your employees will realise that you are not taking health and safety seriously and neither will they. No good for promoting safety culture.

    Education and Training

    Through your initial gap analysis, you will have come across the company history for health and safety training. Try and get this in order as soon as possible. Book employees onto refresher courses, ask other employees to get involved by volunteering for other areas of health and safety, get them trained and interested. Keep on top of training and ensure all employees have been given induction training. Don’t forget your contractors on this one, they can have an impact on your safety culture too.

    Employee involvement

    You can’t change a culture on your own! Everyone has to buy in, so make sure everyone gets involved! Revamp your safety committee, hold regular meetings. Is your Safety Rep. still interested in the role? If not, advertise it for someone else and if you get a few people interested, then take them all on! Give employees responsibility for their own areas. Have an open line of communication. Consider safety tagging for unsafe machines/areas, train employees in near miss reporting. Ensure all employees know what a hazard is and how to report it. Before you know it, you will have so many people interested. Show them you care about their safety and they will show you they care too.

    Health and Safety Tools and Applications

    Make use of systems that are already in place. If there are none, then consider installing some. For example, streamline your reporting and legislation by implementing an online system etc. Whatever helps you to make an impact in a short space of time, will have a knock-on effect for the safety culture of the company. When employees and senior management begin to see changes, they will buy into the culture even more rapidly.
    Don’t be afraid to get help from outside consultants to help you speed along the process. Use any resources you can to help you.

    Sustainability

    This is of course critical. All the above requires a huge commitment, resources and finance. So, of course, you don’t want to lose all that if something changes.

    Having a continuous improvement plan in place will make sure that you never return to the time where your safety culture was at an all-time low.

    Reassess, measure and adjust – recognise progress and barriers and react appropriately and be flexible to meet changing needs.

     

    Promoting a culture of safety is no mean feat and it is hard work, but the rewards are great, in fact, you could say it is life-saving work.

    Related Posts

    Wellbeing in Times of Uncertainty

    Wellbeing in Times of Uncertainty

     Wellbeing in Times of Uncertainty ALAN WHITEWellness Consultant at EazySAFENever in living memory have our lives changed so drastically than over the past number of days. New phrases such as 'social distancing' and 'self-isolating' form part of the global...

    Developing Organisational & Employee Resilience

    Developing Organisational & Employee Resilience

    Small Acts of Persistence Developing Organisational and Employee ResilienceALAN WHITE Wellness Consultant at EazySAFE One of the key pillars of personal wellbeing is the ability to overcome setbacks and challenges. Being able to do this develops our sense of...

    Encouraging Safe Work Practices in your Company

    Encouraging Safe Work Practices in your Company

    Encouraging Safe Work Practices in your Company

    Gemma Collins Doyle

    GEMMA COLLINS DOYLE

    Health and Safety Consultant at EazySAFE

    As an employer, it is your responsibility to maintain a safe and healthy workplace. One of the ways to do this, is to encourage safe work practices within the company.

    So, how are you going to do that? Firstly, your employees need to know and be trained in what a safe work practice is. The foundation of this knowledge will come from the Health and Safety Statement, training and your written Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s).

    Before we get into the details, what is meant by a safe work practices? As we all know, this can differ from person to person! That is why it is critical not to leave this to opinion, but instead to training and written procedures.

    The definition: “Safe work practices are generally written methods outlining how to perform a task with minimum risk to people, equipment, materials, environment, and processes.”

    manager training on safe work practices
    man employing safe work practices

    “The safety of the people shall be highest law”

    MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO

    Health and Safety Statement

    It’s great to have your Health and Safety Statement completed and sitting on your shelf looking all shiny and new, but it’s no good to anyone if your employees have not been made aware of it and trained in the various sections that affect them.

    When you have created your new safety statement, changed it or you have a new employee starting, it is imperative that they are made aware of it and the safe work practices that are expected of them as an employee of your company. Make sure they know where to find it, what sections are relevant to them and especially the section that cover safe working (like SOP’s and Method Statements).

    Once they have completed this, you have created a foundation for safety. Remember to get them to sign off on this and keep it on record.

    Training

    In most companies, this is probably the area where employers tend to keep up when it comes to health and safety. By investing in training, you are setting the example for employees new and old. The last thing you want on site is the mentality of “monkey see monkey do”!

    contractor induction - online training

    So, make sure you keep on top of your training, don’t let certificates lapse, consider online training, site specific training and always keep records for each employee.

    Fully trained employees are gold when it comes to encouraging safe work practices. They can help set an example to other employees and some may even become interested in the area of EHS and become a real asset to your team!

    Standard Operating Procedures

    Safe operating procedures (SOPs) are essentially codes of safe practice for various activities and certain operations. An SOP details the system of work to be undertaken in the interests of safety, quality and efficiency.

    Knowledge of the various procedures applicable to a person’s job is essential for all employees and it is should be a requirement that all new and existing employees are trained in and knowledgeable of all SOPs relevant to their particular job classification.

    It should be the policy of a company, that procedures will be prepared for all hazardous activities and employees will be trained in same. These procedures should be available in the workplace for viewing at all times.

    All written procedures must be controlled documents, and only current revisions should be used. SOPs should not be copied. All procedures must be regularly reviewed in order to ensure that changes are captured.

    What else can you do to encourage safe work practices?

    So, you have ticked off the items above, that’s great, you are well on the way to creating a positive and safe working environment for your employees, visitors and contractors. But if you know safety, then you know it’s not always that simple! Health and safety must be an everyday topic and it can be if you make sure it is thought of that way.

    • Put Health and Safety on the top of every meeting agenda. Make sure it gets discussed regularly.
    • Reward good behavior and good safety practices – consider running a friendly competition between each department.
    • Have a safety suggestion box or dedicated email that employees can use to submit their ideas and suggestions on how to improve health and safety on site.
    • Encourage the reporting of near misses.
    • Review all contractors who are working on site. Make sure their Safety Statement, SOP’s and method statements are up to date and that they have completed an induction.
    • Carry out regular safety walks of the site, make it a daily exercise. Praise employees that are working safely and re-train the ones who are not.
    • Consider conducting regular behavioural audits to capture any unsafe work practices.
    • Have monthly safety committee meetings to discuss concerns, ideas, new processes, etc.

     

    If you are a safety professional, then you know that encouraging safe work practices is a critical part of safety management. In short, investing in all of the above will give you the solid foundation that you need to run a successful health and safety department.

    Related Posts

    Risks to the Long-Term Health of Irish Workers

    Risks to the Long-Term Health of Irish Workers

    Risks to the Long-Term Health of Irish Workers TONY MANGAN Health and Safety Consultant at EazySAFE Health can be defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. An occupational disease,...

    Understanding Safety: Workers in Sensitive Risk Groups

    Understanding Safety: Workers in Sensitive Risk Groups

    Understanding Safety: Workers in Sensitive Risk Groups ANDY TILLEARD Health and Safety Consultant at EazySAFE There are myriad environments that people work in on a day to day basis in which they are able to work without undue problems, what most of us would consider...

    Hidden Dangers – Office Safety

    Hidden Dangers – Office Safety

    The office is not the first place you would think of when you think of safety at work! Office places would not usually fall into the high-risk category, but this does not mean that no hazards exist here. Let’s take a closer look. A job where most work tasks are carried out while sitting in a chair in a climate-controlled office would …

    A Best Practice Guide to Safety Management

    A Best Practice Guide to Safety Management

    A Best Practice Guide to Safety Management

    GEMMA COLLINS DOYLE

    Health and Safety Consultant at EazySAFE

    Whether you’re just starting with… or you’re slightly more seasoned, our best practice guide to Safety Management will serve as a helpful reference point to make sure you get the most out of your efforts!

    The key is in the title…”Management”. Just like any other section of your business, the area of health and safety must be managed in order for it to be effective and compliant. It’s not enough to create a safety statement that will lie dormant for years, carry out some training and hope for the best!

    Safety management cannot succeed if it is treated as a stand-alone system. It must be integrated with all other aspects of the business, which will create a solid foundation for the whole company.

    Yoga Session

    “Celebrate your successes! Let employees know their dedication to safety is not going unnoticed and that it is making a difference. Publish safety statistics for everyone to see.”

    Successful safety and health systems have the following in place:

     

    • Managers committed to making the program work
    • Employee involvement
    • A system to identify and control hazards
    • Compliance with health and safety regulations and legislation
    • Training on safe work practices
    • Mutual respect, consideration and open communication
    • Positive safety culture
    • Continuous improvement and review of performance

    Educate Senior Management

    Before getting into the nuts and bolts of real safety management, it’s critical that you as a company are aware of the roles of the board and directors in relation to health and safety legislation. An easy way of relaying this important information is to arrange a training session for senior management. A few hours is usually enough to get the point across and you will be amazed at the difference in attitude when people find out they could be the ones who end up in jail!

    Without senior management on board, you will be swimming against the tide when it comes to trying to implement a robust safety management system. Make sure they are committed and educated and then you can move on with your plans.

    Employee Involvement

    If you want your safety program to succeed, then you have to involve employees. After all, they have every reason to be interested and involved, their safety is at stake! Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility, we hear this all the time don’t we? Maybe we are all becoming a bit numb to it. Refresh this in people’s mind and really try to bring it home to them, by sharing true life stories or bringing in a guest speaker to tell their own story.

    Actively encourage employee involvement and hold people accountable and ensure everyone does their part.

     

    • Set up a health and safety committee
    • Carry out daily inspections on employee’s jobs
    • Communicate safety statistics and information to employees
    • Distribute safety tasks to everyone
    • Listen and take action on employee feedback and ideas. They know their job better than you
    • Get employees involved with reviewing and improving safety management
    • Include health and safety responsibilities as part of job descriptions
    • Discipline employees who behave in unsafe ways
    • Ensure there is a clear process for reporting hazards, injuries, illnesses and near misses
    • Reward and recognise employees who contribute to promoting a safe and healthy work environment.

    Identify and control hazards

    Every workplace has them, whether you are an office or a manufacturing site, you must identify the hazards, assess them and control them.

    Here are some ways to identify safety and health hazards:

    • Review your accidents, injury, illness and near miss records
    • Look for trends in types of injuries/illnesses/near misses/parts of the body/time of day or shift/location/equipment/PPE/department
    • Review any inspection reports from the H.S.A. or insurance audits or consultants
    • Review current legislation related to your workplace
    • Inspect your workplace for health and safety and carry out site specific risk assessments
    • Watch employees work to spot unsafe work practices
    • Perform Job Hazard Analysis
    • If there are noise/air/vibration hazards, get the area assessed by a specialist

    Now that you have listed all the hazards, you can decide how to control them. This can seem like a daunting task at first, so prioritise them first and work your way through them. Make sure you evaluate any changes you do make and make sure your review them annually or when a change has happened in the process or the equipment.

    Employee Training

    Even the best and most safety conscious employees will be in the dark if they have not had the correct health and safety training.

    Health and safety training should begin at the beginning, at induction. Make sure your company has a simple and interesting health and safety induction program. It should include general safety, company safety regulations and emergency procedures. Ensure that all new employees sign off on this and keep on file.

    After the induction training, assess the role of each employee and train them in the hazards that they may be exposed to at work and how to protect themselves.

    Encourage a positive safety culture

    If employees hold safety as a value, then they will actively care about themselves and others. From this, mutual respect is born.

    Two way effective communication is a must, learn to listen and hear what an employee has to say. They are the ones who are working the job every day and more than often, they will have the solution to the problem that they are coming to you with. Make time for one on one meetings. It’s important that you respond to the needs and concerns of each employee.

    Showing that the company is going above and beyond the considerations of legislation and regulations to ensure a safe workplace will give each and every employee the peace of mind that the company is doing more than enough to create the safest workplace possible. In turn, employees will take safety more seriously and help maintain these high standards.

    Support a work environment that fosters trust, creativity, and general wellbeing. Don’t let this be a slogan, live it and you will reap the rewards.

    Celebrate your successes! Don’t keep good news to yourself. Let employees know their dedication to safety is not going unnoticed and that it is making a difference. Publish safety statistics for everyone to see. Reward employees or departments who are going beyond the call of duty.

    Continually improve your safety management system

    Review the company’s health and safety strengths and weakness. Carrying out reviews of safety and health performance will confirm whether your safety and health plans are still appropriate. They will check the validity of the safety and health policy and the extent of its implementation. Many companies are now publishing the results of these reviews in their Annual Reports.

    • Audit safety and health performance to ensure legal compliance.
    • Create an audit process
    • Decide what needs to be audited and by who
    • Keep the safety and health management system up to date
    • Review annually and if there are any changes
    • Investigate accidents, injuries, illnesses and near misses as they happen
    • Conduct frequent (daily, weekly as needed) inspections of specific equipment and processes.
    • Evaluate your injury and illness statistics
    • Record all your safety work
    • Change analysis: Review new and changed processes, materials, facilities and equipment for hazards
    • Evaluate effectiveness of training
    • Keep listening to and involving your employees

    The most important thing to remember is, health and safety is not an “extra” part of your business. It is in fact an integral part of the success of any company and as soon as you start treating it as such, you will see all round improvement, not just financially, but in attitude and overall happiness of your employees.

    Related Posts

    Risks to the Long-Term Health of Irish Workers

    Risks to the Long-Term Health of Irish Workers

    Risks to the Long-Term Health of Irish Workers TONY MANGAN Health and Safety Consultant at EazySAFE Health can be defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. An occupational disease,...

    Understanding Safety: Workers in Sensitive Risk Groups

    Understanding Safety: Workers in Sensitive Risk Groups

    Understanding Safety: Workers in Sensitive Risk Groups ANDY TILLEARD Health and Safety Consultant at EazySAFE There are myriad environments that people work in on a day to day basis in which they are able to work without undue problems, what most of us would consider...

    Hidden Dangers – Office Safety

    Hidden Dangers – Office Safety

    The office is not the first place you would think of when you think of safety at work! Office places would not usually fall into the high-risk category, but this does not mean that no hazards exist here. Let’s take a closer look. A job where most work tasks are carried out while sitting in a chair in a climate-controlled office would …

    Safety Performance: Leading v’s Lagging Indicators

    Safety Performance: Leading v’s Lagging Indicators

    Safety Performance: Leading v’s Lagging Indicators

    GEMMA COLLINS DOYLE

    Health and Safety Consultant at EazySAFE

    So, you have your Safety Statement completed, risk assessments carried out, employees trained and a host of other safety items completed, but have you thought about your safety performance and how you can measure it?

    The majority of large corporations will have this in place already and will be hopefully measuring both leading and lagging safety indicators. On the other hand, SME’s may not have this in place and it will be an area of weakness for them.

    Before we get into the detail of each, let’s talk about what safety performance indicators are and why they are so important.

    Yoga Session

    “A leading indicator is proactive in nature. They include safety initiatives or reported activities, with the goal of preventing unfavourable events before they happen.”

    Every company monitors all aspects of its business, to ensure that it performing to its highest and to show if things are moving in the right direction, this should include health and safety too. Having clear indicators will raise awareness among management and employees and focus attention where it’s needed most. Health and safety indicators can also be used as part of an incentive programme for employees. The added bonus of highlighting these indicators, will in turn educate all employees on the importance of reporting and recording all health and safety matters.

    Leading indicators must be looked at in the same context as their counterparts: lagging indicators. The objective of measuring both sets of indicators is to assess safety performance, and determine what needs to be done to improve the safety culture of a company. Lagging indicators are reactive in nature. They measure the effectiveness of a safety program after the facts.

    What is a Leading Indicator?

    A leading indicator is proactive in nature. They include safety initiatives or reported activities, with the goal of preventing unfavourable events before they happen.

    Leading Indicators can include:

    Leading indicators will help to improve safety through awareness and prevention and will show stakeholders that the company is taking proactive steps to achieve excellence in safety.

    The reason why leading indicators should be focused on future safety performance and continuous improvement is that these measures are proactive in nature and will show what the company is doing on a regular basis to prevent injuries.

    Be sure that when you use leading indicators, make your metrics based on impact. For example, don’t just track how many audits were carried out each month, measure the impact of the audits – how many non-conformances were found, how many were closed out, etc.

    What is a Lagging Indicator?

    Lagging indicators are measurements that include data from the past. They include incidents and accidents statistics. These figures are the bottom-line numbers that evaluate the overall effectiveness of safety within a company. They will inform you of how many employees were injured and how seriously. These statistics are reactive.

    Examples of Lagging Indicators:

    While it is completely necessary to record lagging indicators, they do however have their drawbacks. They will only give you information on how many employees were injured and how severely. They won’t however, tell you how well your company is performing when it comes to preventing accidents and incidents. They measure failure, not performance.

     

    Due to the reactionary nature of lagging indicators, they don’t make for a strong gauge for measuring overall safety and prevention.

    Unfortunately, they can lead managers and employees to become complacent, just because they see a low injury rate. Safety then may be put to the bottom of their list, when in fact there are many risk factors present in the workplace that will contribute to future accidents and incidents.

    Traditional metrics (lagging Indicators) can help companies tell the overall score at the end of month or year, but they do not help employers to understand their strengths and weakness of their safety management program.

    A lot of company workplace safety programs will focus most of their efforts on lagging indicators that report on the outcomes of safety initiatives, but forget to give the same consideration to leading indicators that measure proactive activities, which are necessary to achieve the excellence in health and safety.

    The key to achieving the best safety management program, is to ensure you are measuring both lagging and leading indicators and not to focus solely on the lagging side. A balance of both will ensure that you are doing everything in your power to provide a healthy and safe workplace for your employees.

    A healthy and safe workplace is essential to the wellbeing of employees and employers. This requires an ongoing understanding that efforts must be managed and sustained. Any tools, strategies or programs that can help a company to improve its health and safety is worthy of consideration.

    In short, leading indicators will provide employers with a means to improve the performance of their current safety management system on an ongoing basis, rather than relying on historic lagging indicators.

    Pin It on Pinterest