Workplace Safety: New Scorecard Changes the Game | MNN


The American workplace has
become significantly safer. In the U.S., incidents of worker injury and illness
have been reduced by 69 percent since the 1970s. Workplace fatalities have been
reduced by 68 percent. While these are amazing accomplishments, there is still
more to be done. Over the past five years, an average of nearly four million
illnesses and injuries and 4,600 fatalities have occurred each year. All
workers are affected by these safety failures in terms of productivity and

Most safety scorecard systems available today monitor only lagging
indicators, based on what has already happened. Common examples of lagging
indicators are number of illnesses and injuries, injury rates and performance
against previously set safety goals.

UL, an
independent safety science company, has developed an enhanced scorecard that
incorporates leading indicators, too. Leading indicators help predict what is
likely to happen, so it can be prevented. These indicators reflect what’s going
right in safety programs and uncover hidden flaws that can lead to serious
accidents and catastrophic events. UL’s leading indicators include:

  • Percentage of
    employees submitting real-time observations and near misses, warning signs of
    injuries that almost happened
  • Percentage of
    investigations and corrective actions completed in less than 48 hours
  • Interpretation
    of how employees perceive and classify the hazards they report
  • Trends and patterns
    in the causes of incidents
  • Monitoring of
    the effectiveness of safety training

The new UL
scorecard represents the most extensive set of safety data to date. The fresh
focus on early intervention and prevention is expected to bring the percentages
way down for injuries, illnesses and fatalities that continue to occur on the

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