Measuring the Right Safety Metrics in Manufacturing

Part of Performance Solutions by Milliken’s manufacturing safety tips series – click here to learn more

Every manufacturing plant has a long list of measures, or key process indicators (KPI). Particularly from a safety perspective, those measures should encourage the proper behavior. At Milliken, our measures are directed to drive ownership, engagement and empowerment from associates in every part of the plant.

Measuring Safety Empowerment

From an empowerment perspective, we strive to measure the leading indicators versus lagging indicator. A leading indicator is an action, activity, or process that can be used to predict a desired outcome. A lagging indicator is that desired outcome, or result. As associates understand the link between the leading indicators and the desired result, they feel empowered to make a direct impact. For example, we learned that diligently completing safety audits is a critical input that leads to minimized recordable injuries. Associates have direct authority to complete safety audits. Therefore, on-time safety audit completion is a leading indicator measurement that empowers associates to make a difference in recordable injuries. Other empowerment measures include safety team participation, safety project completion rate, and safety awareness activities.

Measuring Safety Ownership

Ownership is encouraged by measuring risk in jobs and tasks. Every job task has an evaluated rating that determines the degree of relative risk. As time goes on, the risk can change due to improvements in the process, changes in machine condition, or replacing raw materials. The minor changes can go unnoticed by supervisors, engineers, or managers. The floor associates are closest to the changes and can be impacted the most. Associates who actually perform those jobs are responsible for the continued evaluation and measure of job task risk. The risk is tracked and posted for all to understand and celebrate the reduction. Risk is an important measure to encourage ownership in the safety process.

Measuring Safety Engagement

Engagement in the safety process is also a critical measurement. Engagement is defined as the degree of individual connection and participation to creating a safer environment. Measurements that reveal the safety observing, reporting, and improving are important measures of engagement. The number of reported near miss occurrences is often tracked in our plants and can provide an indicator of associate engagement. In addition, participation in safety teams can also reveal engagement. A simple attendance tracker can display and trend individual ability to make a meeting. Also tracking the number of assignments on the action tracker per individual can give a good view at participation.

Safety measures should also be accurate and transparent to create ownership, engagement, and empowerment. Data accuracy creates confidence and believability that teams are working on the right opportunities. Particularly with safety measures, transparency is important to understanding current state and identified gaps. Only through clear understanding can progress be accomplished.

At each of Milliken’s manufacturing plants safety measurements are created and tracked to encourage the culture of ownership, engagement, and empowerment.

These safety measurements are just one of 9 critical manufacturing safety practices in the Milliken Safety Way program. Click here to read more.

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