OSHA Asks Public for Help in Developing Leading Indicators

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By Bruce Rolfsen

Oct. 21 — OSHA will ask for help next year with its plan to offer voluntary guidance on which leading safety and health indicators employers and workers can use to better measure a program’s success.

At the National Safety Council Congress in Anaheim, Calif., Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials said that in early 2017 the agency will release a preliminary version of its annual leading indicators guide. However, this time, the public will be able to comment on the guide, suggesting changes and leading indicators that the agency may not have considered.

This is the first time the agency has taken suggestions from the public on leading safety and health indicators in the workplace.

The goal is to create a catalog of leading indicators to select from, Andrew Levinson, deputy director of OSHA’s standards and guidance division, said Oct. 19. But, because OSHA offers its guidance as voluntary, the agency won’t specify which indicators to choose.

Leading indicators are performance measures looking at actions that should better prevent hazardous incidents in the workplace. For example, a company could track how long maintenance requests take to be completed or what percentage of newly hired workers receive safety training before being allowed in the field.

A final guide, complete with suggestions, could be published later in the year.

Many safety advocacy groups, such as the National Safety Council, are calling for increased use of leading indicators instead of solely relying on “lagging indicators,” which measure injuries and exposures that already happened, such as injury and illness rates.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Rolfsen in Washington at BRolfsen@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

For More Information

A National Safety Council guide to leading indicators is available at http://src.bna.com/jxT.

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