A fresh take on safety metrics

Ryan Quiring
4 min readMar 12, 2021
Photo by Lukas from Pexels

As more organizations start digging into data to make better-informed decisions, the first question is which key performance indicators (KPI) are most significant to track?

Safety professionals know the importance of tracking incident rates. But what kinds of metrics can you start tracking that could make the most significant impact on your incident rate?

Here’s an excerpt from SafetyTek’s latest article on the eight safety metrics your safety department should be reporting on each month.

1. Toolbox talks frequency

Toolbox talks are something that every worker has done. Some call them safety meetings or safety briefs. These meetings typically last around 10 to 20 mins and either summarizes hazards and controls that exist on-site, cover a specific safety topic, or review near misses that were submitted.

The frequency of these talks has a direct impact on incidents. Data shows that in companies that perform daily safety toolbox talks, there has been an 85% decrease in total recordable incident rates, TRIR.

Starting each day with a toolbox safety talk reinforces those general safe work expectations and obligations and, more importantly, demonstrates to the workforce the importance of putting safety first each day.

You can learn all about Toolbox talks and how to conduct them in our Ultimate Guide to Toolbox Talks.

2. Worker Participation

To prevent incidents, every member of your organization needs to be involved and actively participating in your safety program. That means every team member at every level must know what the company’s safety goals are so they can contribute adequately. When measuring worker participation, a few key safety metrics to track each month include:

  • Number of safety meetings attended
  • Amount of training courses completed
  • Total inspections conducted and submitted
  • Completed corrective actions

3. Safety Program Performance Reviews

Safety program performance reviews should be completed with all workers twice per year, and they are a way to create accountability for the workers. They also allow management to review what is working, and more importantly, what isn’t working. Understanding where safety is breaking down is an essential part of implementing a thriving safety culture.

Reviewing how many incidents took place, how many near-misses were submitted, and what survey results from field staff look like highlights overall workforce engagement.

All of these are key and need to be reviewed regularly with your workers.

4. Corrective Action Completion Velocity

Knowing how many corrective actions are created and closed in a month is fantastic but doesn’t show a complete picture. Do you have aging corrective actions that have been open for weeks or months?

The corrective action process is a vital process that affects all control points in a company’s safety program. Measuring the average time to complete corrective action items can expose potential flaws in every step of a corrective action process. From being issued to acknowledging receipt, follow up, completion, and verification.

If any of these steps is weak, it will show in this metric.

5. Employee Training

Tracking employee training records can seem tiresome, but it’s one of the essential safety metrics to track each month. Stay on top of which members of your team have valid training certificates, which ones will expire, and how many expired tickets there are shows you’re taking a proactive approach to workplace safety and can help you stay compliant.

6. Non-compliant PPE Use

The use of PPE can be monitored through regular safety audits of workers in the field. Send your safety staff to the field to log observations of proper and improper PPE usage. Track how many observations were made each month and how many of those observations were deemed unsatisfactory.

Take steps to improve this ratio and improve your score, be sure to regularly present these numbers to all of your staff. It’s essential not to use this to place blame, but keep it higher level so your workforce can see how important it is to you.

7. Incidents and Near Misses

Usually, organizations focus most of their reporting on lagging indicators, like incidents (TRIR and DART) and near misses. Measuring these kinds of lagging indicators tells us how we’ve been doing and provides a solid foundation to build on. Once you’ve established your baseline, you can then contemplate putting checks in place to improve these key safety metrics.

8. Safety Program Goal Setting

Implementing a directed process to evaluate safety program needs and establish safety goals leads to a 48% reduction in TRIR and a 50% reduction in DART.

  • Action plans developed and documented
  • Progress tracked and reported
  • The CEO works with staff to review goals, plans and reports and to provide direction
  • Action plans evaluated for effectiveness

Measure how many of your workers set a safety goal every month. You do not measure their goal specifically, just whether or not they set one. The simple act of a worker having to think of a goal, decide what to measure, and decide if it was achieved or has failed is enough to gain all of this metric’s incident reducing benefits.

For more on how metrics can help you create a culture of safety excellence watch this webinar that highlights the 8 leading indicators that stand front and center in the safest work environments.



Ryan Quiring

Passionate about solving one of the largest problems that still exist today — workplace safety. CEO & Founder SafetyTek.