Original source: Kyle W. Morrison, National Safety Council, January 26, 2014, “Select leading indicators to help measure safety”
“Just as a pre-trip inspection can help prevent a vehicle from breaking down during a road trip, the practice of planning ahead instead of waiting for something bad to happen can be applied to workplace safety – in the form of leading indicators.
Leading indicators are pre-incident measurements, as opposed to lagging indicators, which are measurements collected after an incident occurs. For example, a flat tire is a lagging indicator because the blowout already has occurred, but an inspection that notes the poor quality of the tire and prevents a blowout from taking place is a leading indicator.
“If you’re waiting until something has already occurred to make a change, it’s too late,” said Michelle Garner-Janna, director of corporate health and safety for Cummins Inc., a Columbus, IN-based manufacturer. “You want to fix the car before it breaks down.”
Auto maintenance is a simplified example. Jonathan Thomas, director of safety management solutions for the National Safety Council, said researchers disagree on what constitutes a leading indicator. However, Thomas said one defining concept of leading indicators is that they are measurements of safety events or behaviors that precede incidents and have a predictive quality.” Link to the full article
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