Welcome to CoreInsights, CoreAdvantageís Monthly VPP Bulletin.

CoreInsights has been designed to provide helpful tips and advice to VPPPA members, Safety and Health professonals, their managment and colleagues in order to assist in creating continuous safety and health improvement.

Volume 4 Number 3


  "HOT ISSUE" EXCHANGE - Establishing Safety & Health Measures
  • Got a sticky question?  Bring it on.
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Continue sending me your "head scratchers" that you just can't seem to resolve.  You'll read my advice in upcoming CoreInsights newsletters.   

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Question: ďDo you have any suggestions on the best way to establish measures to track safety performance?Ē

Answer: First, I am going to assume that you have already completed your annual safety planning and established goals and objectives for 2006. Part of what is reflected in your 2006 initiatives should be based on issues raised during your annual VPP program evaluation. So now, itís time for execution. A large part of your success will be based on how well the EH&S staff, VPP staff and the line management team manages the process. This ultimately requires good data so that you know if the right actions are occurring and are timely. In short, you canít manage what you donít have good data on!

Here are a few specific recommendations:

1. Creating Measures - The single greatest flaw that organizations make when creating metrics is not taking the time to develop the right mix that is aligned with the organizations goals and objectives. Rather metrics are used because they are easy to measure and have been traditionally used (OSHA rates). In short they donít provide site specific performance information that is needed to ensure that the right things and are being done the right way.

The most important factors that go into creating measures are ensuring that the measures are specific to your site needs. They need to measure key performance areas that if accomplished will ensure your success, accomplish your goals and, will drive improvement. For example, if youíre struggling with ensuring that audits are accomplished then establish a measure for audits. If youíre struggling with attendance and support for your safety committee meetings create a measure for percent attendance at safety meetings. If you need to increase management visibility in the safety process establish a series of measures that captures management involvement.

Creating a good mix of measures requires the identification of the absolutes that must occur and the areas that need to improve. Create a balanced mix of performance measures and upstream leading indicators. Keep your eye on the performance measures but drive the system with the leading indicators.

2. Manage by the Numbers! Once you have measures in place management must manage by the numbers! Intervene and make modifications/adjustments as necessary. Bottom line, management must hold the organization accountable for safety performance starting with themselves. This also includes providing positive feedback and rewards.

3. Score Cards and Dashboards - In order to develop buy-in, and motivate everyone involved, it is important that everyone understands where your performance is and, what the status of your initiatives are. Score Cards and Dashboards are a perfect communication tool. The greater the visibility of your performance, the greater the credibility and buy-in that will be created. In case you are not familiar with score cards and dashboards, score cards display data in the form of tables while dashboards display data in easily scanable gauges.

4. Performance Pressures - Once performance measures are published it can create subtle but positive pressures to perform. Itís human nature not to want to look bad or unsuccessful. One thing that managers understand is that you do not want to go into a meeting with the boss with performance numbers that are outliers. By having the right set of measures you provide management with one of the most powerful tools that they can have, a means to manage.

To see an example SafePath Dashboard that can help you manage and publish metrics click here: SafePath Dashboards



If you are struggling with issues such as leadership, employee ownership, establishing the proper mix of measures, or your rates have stalled, perhaps itís time for assistance from an outside third party. Frequently a person from outside an organization can help facilitate change a lot easier than a person from within.

Evaluating VPP management systems is the core of my practice. If I can be of any assistance please give me a call at 303.499.4111 or Visit us on the web at: http://www.core-advantage.com.


To learn more about the SafePath product family click here: SafePath


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Contact Jerry Ryan, Ph.D., CIH at:

1989 Hardscrabble PL.
Boulder, CO 80305

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