Building the strongest safety culture possible is top of mind right now for EHS leaders across hazardous industries and for good reason – organizations with the most robust cultures are more productive, more profitable and have fewer incidents.
But when it comes to creating these cultures and improving safety outcomes, there’s still one thing many leaders are overlooking – the power of their own EHS data.
In this blog we’ll talk a bit more about why EHS data and safety cultures are so closely tied together, how to improve participation in your data collection process, and how to use your data to address performance gaps.
Build a Participation-Driven Culture
To collect good quality EHS data that can ultimately be used to make safer decisions, the first step is to build a safety culture that emphasizes worker participation in your company’s EHS program. This means actively encouraging your most at-risk workers to engage in your safety process, by recording and reporting hazards and near misses at the field level. The more engaged your workforce is in your safety program, the more frequent and accurate data collection will be, which will help you improve future outcomes.
Standardize Your EHS Data Collection Process
In the past, safety professionals have largely reported on lagging indicators which is important, but doesn’t give us the complete picture. To effectively reduce workplace risk, we need to get proactive which means reporting on leading indicators as well. A good way to start capturing leading indicators is standardizing your EHS data collection process. Make sure all your inspection and audit forms are up to date to capture the right data for your business and ensure you are using consistent forms across all of your job sites.
Interpret Your EHS Data
After your front-line workforce has collected data and it’s synced to your EHS safety management system, it’s time to take a look at your data and interpret your findings. Are there any anomalies that stick out? Do you notice higher near misses when a particular piece of machinery or employee is involved? What conclusions can you draw from the new information you’ve just discovered?
Communicate and Share Your Findings
The best thing you can do with your new knowledge is to take action and drive continuous improvement. Communicate and share your new findings with management and other leaders in your organization who can make change happen. Assign corrective actions, put controls in place as necessary, and address potential risks before they become critical.