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Safety-Management Leading Indicator Results in Unintended Consequences

Topics: Safety/health

A metric based on a corrective-action-classification system initially appeared to be a valuable leading indicator for management purposes. However, after trial applications, it became clear that, when this metric was used to define performance goals, it had unanticipated consequences that cumulatively and insidiously caused more damage than the accidents it was intended to prevent. Category matching is an upgrade of that original metric and eliminates harmful unintended consequences of corrective-action classifications used alone.

Background

Trailing indicators are by far the most common type of safety statistic. Governments, insurance companies, corporations, and essentially everyone who tracks accidents will record the number and type of injuries, plus the money spent on repairs, machinery replacements, wasted time, or other harmful consequences of accidents. Leading indicators are complicated by the fact that some dangerous acts (e.g., touching high-voltage switchgear) will always produce an accident with severe consequences while other dangerous acts (e.g., running a stop sign) might be repeated hundreds of times without causing an accident. In industrial work situations, no scientifically defensible equation exists where X dangerous acts produce Y accidents with Z fatalities.

This article, written by Editorial Manager Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 164961, “Unintended Consequences of a Promising Safety-Management Leading Indicator,” by Carl D. Veley, SPE, vMBA Consultants, prepared for the 2013 SPE European HSE Conference and Exhibition, London, 16–18 April. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Safety-Management Leading Indicator Results in Unintended Consequences

01 August 2013

Volume: 65 | Issue: 8

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