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Inspection Scoring: Your Greatest Ally against EHS Incidents

We recently published an article on the 4 Critical Activities of the World’s Best Safety Leaders, where we outlined the importance of analytics and metrics for creating continuous improvement.  One area of focus employed by the world’s best safety leaders is the ability to add a score to each inspection/audit because pass/fail is no-longer a strong enough metric to decipher areas of improvement.

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure” is a phrase we tend to say to EHS professionals who perform safety inspections and run a safety management program without properly measuring the results. Think back to high school (I just shuddered); why did teachers grade your work?  To measure your performance against a set standard, establish areas of improvement, and determine if any progress was made over the year.

Well, the same holds true for scoring safety inspections.  Numerically evaluating inspections provides a way to evaluate, determine areas for improvement and recognize areas of success, giving you the insight you need to build a successful safety program. Here are two ways scoring inspections contribute to creating a world class safety program:

1. Adjusting the Scale of High Risk Actions

Scored inspections allow organizations to give higher values to inspection questions where a deficient answer indicates a high risk to the company. For instance, what’s more dangerous to an oil & gas company: a ruptured hose or a dirty maintenance shack floor?

When you have the ability to score your inspections, you can weigh risk assessments differently, depending on the scale of that risk. In a scored inspection, the ruptured hose can be given greater weight than the dirty floor. Hence, if a ruptured hose is found on a hazard assessment inspection, it will result in more alarm bells than a dirty floor.  This provides a clear indication of high risk factors and presents more accurate risk assessment results for companies to analyze and assess.

In a non-scored scenario, each question has the same weight and doesn’t accurately reflect the level of risk that the company faces.  The ability to weigh inspection questions differently gives you a far more accurate portrayal of how safe your jobsite is overall while simultaneously allowing you to quickly identify any high level hazards.

2. Showing Proof of Noticeable Improvement in Your EHS Program

 When you regularly perform safety inspections, you should be able to prove to upper management, the government and potential/current clients that you are actively improving the conditions of your workplace to continuously ensure the safety of workers.  Ask yourself: are you currently able to demonstrate proof of improvements in your safety program?

With inspection scoring, you are able to clearly track improvements in your company’s safety program by seeing consistent increases in your inspection score. Over time, if you’ve been diligent at revising your problem areas, your overall inspection scores should improve; and you’ll easily be able to demonstrate proof of due diligence.  After your inspection score has regularly improved, you can increase the passing score of your inspections to ensure that your company maintains a high level of excellence and is, in fact, running a world class safety program.

Essentially, the ability to score your inspections gives you a way to numerically evaluate your safety program, which presents you with the data you need to make the necessary improvements to meet your departmental and organizational goals.

Without the proper means of evaluating your safety inspections and program, you lack the ability to accurately assess and improve your safety program, which can result in you unknowingly leaving your employees exposed to high risks. In order to reduce risk of injuries and truly keep employees safe, you need to be able to clearly and precisely analyze the risk assessment and overall effectiveness of your safety program. The ability to score inspections combined with a hunger to understand all of the data related to how your safety program is being administered and improved is the most significant way to continually reduce the corporate risks associated with EHS.

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