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What leading indicators are you tracking? Here’s what KPA customers said.

What leading indicators are you tracking? Here’s what KPA customers said.

In May, OSHA issued a letter asking for comments from organizations about the effectiveness of leading indicators on impacting health and safety programs. The agency is looking to create a new Leading Indicators Resource tool and is looking for best practices. This is a great excuse for us to take another look and ask our customers how they use leading indicators to improve their EHS programs.

Let’s take a quick review of how to develop leading indicators and take a look at the different ways to identify leading indicators.

6 Steps for Using Leading Indicators

  1. Plan by choosing the leading indicator.
  2. Set a goal for the indicator.
  3. Communicate with your crews and teams about the indicator, goal, and how you’ll track it. Explain why you’ve chosen this particular leading indicator.
  4. Start using your leading indicators by collecting data, measuring progress towards your goal, creating an action plan if you need to meet it, and then communicating your progress with your crews. 
  5. Assess or reassess your goal and indicator. Sometimes indicators and goals can take a while to collect enough data, so be sure to review things regularly.
  6. Respond to your key learnings, share them with the relevant teams, and change things based on what you learn.

Use the Data You're Already Collecting.

For example, the percentage of workers attending safety trainings. since you’re already tracking who attends a training or toolbox talk, you can turn this into a leading indicator that’s defined by the percentage of workers who receive training.

Using Leading Indicators to Control an Identified Hazard.

If you’re concerned about slips and falls at work, your lagging indicator would be the number of those incidents. But, with your team and data reports, you realize that most of those incidents result from cluttered walkways. 

Your leading indicator could be the number of inspections of those walkways every day.


Another example is if there’s a recent trend in worker injuries from trucks that fail to stop properly. The workers mention the sound of squeaking brakes. Looking through inspection reports, you see that brake pads haven’t been replaced as the manufacturer recommends. 

Your leading indicator is to change or replace the brake pads as recommended (in this case every 30,000 miles).

Choose Leading Indicators that Improve an Element of Your Health and Safety Program

This could mean picking leading indicators that support leadership or worker participation, hazard identification/assessment, education/training, or prevention and control. 

Looking at leadership and worker participation…you could measure the number of times leadership brings up a safety issue or topic for discussion, the number of workers developing safety procedures, or the participation rate in a safety survey.

Looking for more guidance or information? We leaned heavily on this OSHA document; you might like it too.

What leading indicators are you tracking? Here’s what KPA customers mentioned.

We put the question out to our KPA Connect community members. And as always, they had some great advice.

What are some of the leading indicators that you’re tracking? 

At-risk driving behaviors such as speeding and rolling stops.

How do you determine their effectiveness?

We use artificial intelligence built into our dash cam system.

Bill Woods
Director of Safety, Quality, and Regulatory Compliance
American Welding and Gas
(Read the Case Study)

What are some of the leading indicators that you’re tracking? 

Number of safety assessments, Number of CE Engagements, Number of Hazard Recognition Cards 

How do you determine their effectiveness?

High numbers normally correlate to increased safety culture on the job site and fewer safety-related issues

Safety Specialist, Construction Company

What are some of the leading indicators that you’re tracking? 

Good catches, training compliance, equipment maintenance

How do you determine their effectiveness?

Mostly by our incident rates and severity. Being a smaller org, we like these to be at zero as a single incident wrecks our numbers.

Timothy Shaw
Information Success Coordinator
McCumber Well Service

Tracking leading indicators is easier with solid EHS software in your safety team’s hands.

KPA simplifies data visualization and reporting, giving users easy access to actionable insights into their EHS program performance. Your data is presented in real-time, so no delay or extra steps are required to access the information. The dashboards are configured based on features tailored to your business’s unique requirements, giving you the power to make informed decisions that impact workplace safety.

Let KPA show you how to take a data-driven approach to safety.


About The Author

Toby Graham

Toby manages the marketing communications team here at KPA. She's on a quest to help people tell clear, fun stories that their audience can relate to. She's a HUGE sugar junkie...and usually starts wandering the halls looking for cookies around 3pm daily.

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