Every new year brings goals and plans to do better. Whether to do better personally, professionally, or physically, every improvement idea involves planning. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Successful companies with low IR rates all have something in common, they all prepare for success. Work Safety Review will teach you how to set your team up for success with an annual safety plan.

A safety plan is a tangible document that is a blueprint for keeping workers safe. It is a written document that describes the process for identifying physical and health hazards that could harm workers. In addition, it includes procedures to prevent accidents and steps to take when accidents occur.

Identify:
An excellent place to start when developing an annual safety plan is to look at the previous year’s failures to identify areas for improvement. This exercise will set the foundation to steer goals and objectives for the coming year. The best place to start is diving into your safety management software analytics. Some KPI’s to look at are IR, DART, or LTIFR.

If your organization hasn’t implemented a safety system yet, management can sort through workplace injury reports to obtain this information and calculate these metrics manually.

Management may also want to perform assessments through employee surveys, one-on-one meetings, and staff focus groups to evaluate current training activities and obtain insight into what has been working and what areas need improvement based on direct employee feedback.

Goals & Objectives:
Once you’ve analyzed and identified the areas for improvement, you can start your plan by setting goals. A few examples of goals may be to decrease IR or near misses; therefore, your objective to reach that goal may be to add two additional trainings, per employee, per quarter. Another objective to decrease incident rates may be to implement daily or weekly safety meetings. Learn more about how to decrease workplace injuries.

Another goal may be to lower workers’ compensation claims by 25% by next year. (*Note this is a great goal to set because it directly impacts how safety contributes to a company’s financial goals.) The objectives to achieve this goal may be to set a weekly or monthly schedule allotting time dedicated to conducting inspections and audits. Another objective may be to perform a hazard analysis each month. Being proactive about identifying safety hazards can result in fewer accidents and, ultimately, fewer workers comp claims.

Measurement:
Measurement is an essential aspect of an annual safety plan and can be a barrier or gateway to success. Measurement can be done by manually keeping good records or logging information directly into a safety management system. Safety software can be beneficial for measurement because it is efficient and easy to use. Things to measure include employee training, such as how often it occurs, and the type of training conducted. Management may also measure how training is positively impacting injuries. For example, if management has identified through analytics a high number of back injuries and begins focused training on back injuries, then in 3 months is able to measure back injuries have decreased by 30%, that is a measurable result that shows the value of safety.

(*Pro-Tip: set a calendar reminder to measure your weekly, monthly, or quarterly results.)

Contact us at Work Safety Review for a free evaluation if you need help determining how often to measure based on your specific industry, structure, and hazards.

Evaluation:
Once you’ve focused your efforts, set goals and objectives, implemented your plan, and measured your progress, it’s time to evaluate. During this phase, you will want to answer the following questions honestly.

Questions to answer during the evaluation phase: 

  • How are accidents and property damage trending? (Incline or Decline)
  • Are the metrics better this quarter?
  • Are we meeting our goals?
  • Are more hazards being identified?
  • Are they the same items?
  • Are the same workers identifying them?
  • Is the same supervision responsible for that area?
  • Are our corrective actions effective?
  • Are employee training levels acceptable?
  • Is critical training being completed?
  • Which supervisors are lagging on training?
  • Which workers are lagging on training?
  • Is this okay for now or must it be addressed immediately?

According to Bart Briggs CSP and Founder of Safety Plus, Inc, “To answer these types of questions effectively, a set of acceptable standards must be established. These standards need to be objective, measurable, and trackable and should incorporate both lagging and leading indicators. Incident data is a lagging indicator of a program’s status that allows a company to review past events and implement new protocols to avoid reoccurrence. Leading indicators, such as training completion records and inspection/corrective action data, can help predict concerns before they manifest problems that lead to incidents. Both should be utilized in an effective safety management program. However, these are all factors that cannot be properly evaluated if organizations are not maintaining organized records of training, inspections, and incidents. (Briggs, 2021)

Improvement:
Measuring key safety metrics is critical as it allows organizations to establish a baseline and improve over time. This is how safety management software can significantly help a company’s success.

No matter your goals, ensure they are based on your assessment and safety data analysis. Remember it’s important to have objectives that focus on how you will reach your safety goals – safety goals and objectives should play in harmony.

Think of the goal as the overarching vision of what you want your workforce to accomplish and your objectives as what needs to happen achieve your goal. For more information on this topic, check out SafetyGerr.com and 6 Key Elements of an Effective Safety Program or for assistance creating your annual safety plan contact us at Work Safety Review.