Using Leading Indicators for Safety Performance Measurement

Leading Indicators for Safety Performance Measurement Image

You work hard on your safety & health/EHS program at work. You give it a lot of thought, you spend a lot of time on it, and you care a lot about it (and about the people and environment it’s intended to protect).

But how do you know if what you’re doing is effective? How do you know if it’s working? How can you measure your own performance?

One thing you can do is to keep track of the number of incidents at work. Things like work-related fatalities, injuries, or illnesses. Or chemical spills to the environment. As a group, these are known as lagging indicators. They’re called lagging because they tell you about things that have already happened.

Lagging indicators have their place, and they’re important to track. But they have their limits, too, and it’s helpful to track other stuff as well in order to truly measure the success of your EHS program.

As you may have guessed, we’re “leading up to” the subject of leading indicators here, and the use of leading indicators for EHS measurement. Ha! Did you get the little joke? ūüôā

But jokes aside, what are leading indicators, in general? What are some good examples? What’s the point of using them? How can you get started using them? Those are the kind of questions we’re going to address below.

If this article is of interest to you, once you’ve read all we have to say about leading indicators for safety, you may also find some articles we have on Safety Differently and HOP (Human and Organizational Performance) interesting as well. Check out the links at the bottom of this article for more on Safety Differently & HOP.

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Onboarding New Employees: Why and How to Do It

onboarding-new-employeesWhat do you do when a new employee is hired? Do you have a process for onboarding new employees?

Some organizations have no real plan for managing this process at all. Whatever happens, happens, and it varies from one new employee to the next based on a variety of circumstances.

Other organizations have some minimal preparations in place. The person gets a desk, computer, and phone, or the proper tools and safety equipment, and gets to fill out his or her benefit paperwork.

But high-performing organizations have a consistent, well-thought out new employee onboarding process in place. We’ll show you what that involves below. There’s even a checklist at the bottom for you.

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The Past, Present, and Future of Manufacturing Training

past-present-future-of-manufacturing-trainingTraining within manufacturing organizations has undergone a lot of changes over time, and there are plenty more changes coming.

In fact, even if you’re not aware of it, changes are happening right now. And the infrastructure that will lead to even more changes is coming soon.

If this seems interesting to you–and if you’re in manufacturing training, it should, because it directly affects your present and future realities–you may find the quick overview below of interest.

This is also a great post for including your own thoughts at the bottom, since so much of the future is speculative. Please share your own experiences and thoughts and let us learn from you.

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Determining Training ROI: Isolating the Effects of Your Training Program

Isolating the Effects of Training Programs on Business Goals ImageIn some recent articles, we’ve been looking at issues related to determining if your training program is having a desired positive effect, determining how big of a positive effect it’s having, and communicating that information internally within the training department but also externally with others in your workplace.

For example, we discussed the importance of aligning training with business goals, gave an overview of the commonly used Kirkpatrick evaluation model, and in our last article that touched on these issues, we looked at a way to evaluate the movement of a key performance indicator (KPI) after a training program was held.

In that same article, we also noted that although it’s great if you initiate a training program and see a KPI (or several KPIs) that the program is intended to effect respond in a positive manner, that’s not the whole story. Because there are other factors that may have influenced that KPI at the same time. And if that’s the case, who’s to say that the newly implemented training program truly deserves all the credit? Or how much of the credit it does deserve? Or even if it deserves any credit for the improved KPI?

And that introduction leads us straight to the point of this article. Today, we’re going to explain a few methods of “isolating the effects of your training program.” What this means is determining how much of that desired increase in the KPI your training program was responsible for–if any.

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3 Ways Online Training Can Improve Your Safety Culture

online-safety-cultureIf you’re in safety, you may be familiar with various reasons why it’s a good idea to use online training tools as part of your safety/EHS training program at work.

There are lots of reasons. It can result in more effective training and therefore a safer workplace. It can help you deliver training to more people, especially those who work on different shifts or in different locations. And it can do all that while ALSO cutting your EHS training costs and still facilitating instructor-led training or other forms of face-to-face training.

But here’s one you may not have heard before:¬†adopting an online training system¬†can cause your workers to take a more active, engaged role in safety matters at work. So¬†the online training¬†not only improves your EHS training program, it also has a positive effect on your safety culture and on safety as a whole at work.

But you don’t have to take it from me. In fact, we’ve heard this very point from three customers who¬†made the move to an online training system¬†and began using them for safety training at their workplace. We’ll give you a quick overview below.

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Big Data and Big Learning Data

big data and big learning data imageIf you live in today’s world, read the papers, listen to the radio, or (more to the point) get on the Internet, you’ve heard the phrase: BIG DATA. And maybe you’ve heard of BIG LEARNING DATA too.

We know big data is¬†about data, and we know if we consult our friends at Merriam-Webster, they’ll tell us that in general terms, data is “facts or information used usually to calculate, analyze, or plan something,” and in terms that are more specifically relevant to this article, data is “information that is produced or stored by a computer” (bonus points if you happened to know that “data” is the plural version of “datum,” grammar junkie).

And of course, we know that the word “big” placed before “data” means there’s a LOT of data. It doesn’t really matter exactly how much data you’re talking about. It’s enough data that it’s hard to manage, analyze, and make sense of with common software applications (read: Excel spreadsheets).

But how much do you know about big data? And in particular, how much do you know about how it’s being used and will be used at your workplace, and how it will be used in your training programs and your learning & development programs?

If you’re a little fuzzy on all of this yourself, take a few minutes to read this article. It may provide a few “a-ha” moments, give you an insight or two, and help you better prepare for the big data revolution we’re told is coming soon.

We’d also very much value your own insights, thoughts, predictions, opinions, and comments in the comments field at the end of this article.

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How to Conduct an Incident Investigation

How to Conduct an Incident Investigation Image

In this article, we’re going to introduce to you a relatively standard process for conducting an incident investigation.¬†While we think you’ll find this article and method helpful, know that you may also want to explore an alternative method of incident investigation that uses a learning team.

An incident investigation is something you (and/or others in your company) should perform when an incident occurs at the workplace. This can include near-misses, quality problems, accidents, property damage, illnesses, injuries, and fatalities.

There are two primary purposes of an incident investigation. The first purpose is to identify the root cause or causes of the incident. That’s the short-term goal. And the second purpose¬†is to use the information gathered in the incident investigation, and the determination of the root cause, to prevent a similar incident from happening again. That’s the long-term goal.

But not everyone knows how to perform an incident investigation. What about you? Do you have a plan in place right now? Do you know what you’d do if you had an incident at work?

If you have already planned your response and investigation, hats off to you. If not, you can begin planning now. But if you don’t begin planning your investigation until you’ve had an incident at work, you’re much too late and will be behind the proverbial eight-ball.

So in this article, we’ll sketch out what you need to know about performing an incident investigation. And we’ll even give you a list you can use to begin making your incident investigation plan and another list you can use to begin stocking up your incident investigation kit. Hope you find it helpful.

And please know we’ve created a FREE JHA GUIDE you can download from the link you just passed or from a button at the bottom of this article.

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How to Measure the Impact of Training on Business Goals and KPIs

Measure Impact of Training on Business KPI Image

You can train people all you want, but it’s nice to know if the training is working. More specifically, is it helping your company reach a business goal?

Actually, that’s not just nice. It’s something that’s very important to know. Otherwise, you may be just wasting time and money. And you may even be without a job soon if you can’t prove this.

Luckily, you can use training data from your learning management system (LMS), along with other KPI data (for example, KPIs about operations or safety), to create a compelling visual display of the positive effects of your training program. And as you know, a picture is worth a thousand words.

We’re going to give you a couple of quick examples of how to do just that in the post below.

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The Training Within Industry (TWI) Job Instruction Program (JI)

In a recent article, we provided an overview of Training Within Industry (TWI).

TWI is a training program that was created by the U.S. government during World War II. In the long-term analysis, however, TWI was more influential overseas than it was in the U.S. In particular, it really caught on in Japan, and it could be said that TWI was one of the things at the roots of the Japanese lean manufacturing revolution.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the Job Instruction (JI) program.

Before you get started on TWI and JI, feel free to check out the sample video of some highlights from our online workforce training courses for manufacturers and our online lean manufacturing training courses, plus check our our learning management system for managing and administering all your job training programs.

If you’re interested in Training Within Industry (TWI), you might also find these posts about TWI interesting:

And for more on Lean Manufacturing, try these:

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The MSHA Instructor Training Session: An Interview with Jeff Duncan, Director of Educational Policy and Development (MSHA)

MSHA Instructor Training ImageNot so long ago, we were giving some thought to the MSHA Part 48 Approved Instructor.

And that led us to give some thought to the three-day, Instructor Training sessions that MSHA leads so that people can become Part 48 Approved Instructors and, in turn, deliver Part 48 training to mine site employees (and contractors, etc.).

We were fortunate enough to get Jeff Duncan, the Director of Educational Policy and Development at MSHA, to give up some of his own time to tell us more about that program. We’re thankful to Jeff for being so generous with his time to do that.

So below we’ve¬†got the highlights of¬†that discussion with Mr. Jeff Duncan of MSHA. We hope you find it interesting and that it sheds more light on the role for of the MSHA Approved Instructor for Part 48.

We’ve also got a free Guide to MSHA Training Requirements for you at the¬† bottom of this article.
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Level 4 Training Evaluations (Mind Those Business Goals)

level 4 training evaluation imageKnowing if your training program is having a positive effect on relevant KPIs, and is helping move your company toward its business goals, is a good thing.

Trainers do this by performing what’s known as a level¬†4 evaluation (in the traditional¬†four-level Kirkpatrick training evaluation model). There are other training evaluation models as well, and it’s worth exploring them too, but we’ll stick to Kirkpatrick and level 4 in this article.

By focusing on level 4, we’ll be paying attention to the real reason you’re creating training in the first place: to create desired behaviors, to improve performance, and ultimately to contribute to progress toward business goals like higher profits, lower costs, fewer accidents, etc.

Here we go. 

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How Online Tools Can Save MSHA Part 46 Recordkeeping Headaches

how-online-tools-can-saveMSHAThere are many different aspects of MSHA Part 46 compliance training. Recordkeeping is one of those.

It’s easy enough to see WHY there are recordkeeping and documentation requirements. Regulators have to know what’s been done and what hasn’t been done. Even if you don’t LIKE doing this, the logic is fair enough. You get it.

That doesn’t mean that creating, storing, and later retrieving all those records is especially fun. And if you’re a safety manager, I’d be willing to bet it’s not your favorite part of your job.

But online, computerized systems can help ease this recordkeeping and documentation challenge. They’ll help you spend less time creating, storing, and retrieving training¬†records and other documentation. This means you can spend more of your time on safety training, safety audits, safety observations, in safety meetings….well, you get the idea. You can spend more of your time doing stuff that is more productive.

In this article, you’ll learn more about some ways that online systems can save you time, headache, frustration, and even money on all this recordkeeping. Read on for the full story.

And don’t forget to download our Free Guide to MSHA Training Requirements from the bottom of this article.

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