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Best Practices for Leading Health Metrics

Oct 12, 2020

Preventing workplace illnesses, injuries and fatalities requires that an organization takeBusinesswoman looking at charts a proactive approach to identify hazards and risks and prevent exposure before incidents occur. A new guide from the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability (CSHS) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) offers safety and health professionals best practices for measuring health outcomes of work activities.

Best Practice Guide for Leading Health Metrics in Occupational Safety and Health Programs defines a leading metric as “a measurable, meaningful, actionable, evidenced-based indicator that can be used to monitor predict, influence or manage exposures, hazards, actions and conditions of work that may impact worker health and well-being.”  

The guide emphasizes the advantages of leading metrics over lagging metrics in preventing illnesses and injuries, given that lagging metrics measure after-the-fact data points such as injury and illness rates and prevalence or risk of illness or disease. It also notes that lagging indicators can give an organization a false sense that their safety and health management system is effective and that the workplace is free of hazards.

As the guide notes, leading metrics can help predict safety and health performance and promote actions and activities that correlate with improve worker health. The guide identifies leading metrics such as the number of employees with health insurance, the ratio of safety and health professionals to the number of employees, or developing a strategic plan with measurable objectives for health or wellness initiatives.

The guide also includes tools such as a resource list for further information on leading health metrics, examples of leading occupational health metrics, including metrics aligned with Total Worker Health, developing a correlated and balanced “set” of leading health metrics and guidance on estimating exposure performance metrics.

Related Links
The Role of Leading & Lagging Indicators in OSH Performance Management  – Article
Leading with Safety and Health Metrics – Article and Podcast
5 Tips for Planning a Successful OHSMS Audit – Article and Podcast
Supervisors as Leading Indicators of Safety Performance – Article
The Role of Leading & Lagging Indicators in Evaluating OSH Professionals’ Performance – Article


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