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 morale.

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 job.

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