Leading Indicators


OSHA recently announced that it is moving away from relying on past employer safety statistics, or lagging indicators, and will focus enforcement efforts on leading indicators.  Traditionally, lagging indicators alone have been used to measure the effectiveness of an employer’s safety and health program.  Some experts in both the safety and insurance industry do not believe this approach is adequate, believing that leading indicators must also be taken into consideration.  With a diverse and extensive background in the safety and health industry, Appruv shares this view and has long included leading indicators into our contractor, supplier, and vendor prequalification process.

OSHA defines leading indicators as proactive, preventive, and predictive measures that provide information about the effective performance of safety and health activities. They measure events leading up to injuries, illnesses, and other incidents and reveal potential problems in a safety and health program. In contrast, lagging indicators measure the occurrence and frequency of events that occurred in the past, such as the number or rate of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.  Both leading and lagging indicators are an important piece of the pie when evaluating a safety and health program.  A good program uses leading indicators to drive change and lagging indicators to measure effectiveness.

OSHA says that the characteristics of effective leading indicators are based on SMART principles, meaning they are Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Reasonable, and Timely.  Some examples of leading indicators in a safety and health program include but are not limited to:

  • Safety training
  • Worksite audits and inspections
  • Hazard assessment and recognition
  • Toolbox talks and safety meetings

Appruv was invited to OSHA’s November 7, 2019 stakeholder meeting on Leading Indicators for safety and health programs.  I represented Appruv at the meeting, held at the Department of Labor in Washington, DC., with a seat at the roundtable discussion.  The meeting attendees were made up of a diverse group of industry and safety professionals, who provided OSHA with information about current best practices for leading indicators as well as ideas to further develop the use of leading indicators.  We also shared our thoughts about how OSHA could incorporate the use of leading indicators and the tools and guidance they could provide.  The meeting provided excellent discussion points and valuable information for OSHA to consider.

Appruv’s contractor, supplier, and vendor prequalification platform has incorporated leading indicators into the process and is a leader in the field for identifying the quality and effectiveness of an employer’s safety and health program.  With our foundation built in the safety and health industry, we have recognized the need to look at multiple facets of a safety and health program when measuring its effectiveness.  Both leading and lagging indicators are included in this process, as well as other factors.  This combined with first-class customer support, technology focused on intuitive usability, and many other value-added benefits and resources for all users, Appruv is an industry leader for contractor, supplier, and vendor prequalification and management.

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