Companies typically measure their safety and health performance outcomes by tracking incidents after they occur. This typically results in lagging metrics as the only available data points to analyze worker safety. Every year, millions of people are injured on the job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.7 million cases of injuries at work were reported in 2020 alone.
In an effort to prevent these workplace incidents, The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) has published a new standard which uses three sets of metrics to greater improve employer health and safety. The ANSI/ASSP Z16.1-2022, Safety and Health Metrics and Performance Measures uses leading, lagging, and impact metrics. The group feels that this new standard will help prevent injuries, illnesses, and other incidents from occurring in the first place.
Alexi Carl, M.S., CSP, chair off the Z16 committee said in a recent press release that, “Relying solely on lagging metrics does not improve workplace safety […] We need a complete, systematic method to influence what happens while understanding how and why it happens. This standard’s balanced approach measures actions that drive improvement. It’s a major development that can help businesses thrive, especially in today’s challenging environment.”
In addition to introducing the new standard, ASSP has also revised two other standards- Z117.1-2022, Safety Requirements for Entering Confined Spaces and ANSI/ASSP A1264.2-2022, Reducing Slip Missteps on Walking-Working Surfaces. The Safety Requirements for Entering Confined Spaces provides minimum safety requirements which are to be followed when entering, exiting, and working in confined spaces. This is critical, especially for first responders who must have the capability to perform rescues at any given time and location. Reducing Slip Missteps on Walk-Working Surfaces provides guidance for adequate slip resistance as fall hazards are the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States.
While these are voluntary national consensus standards, they are an important component of occupational health and safety. These standards are drafted with the latest expert guidance and are intended to fill any gaps where there are not yet federal regulations. More information about these standards can be found on the ASSP website.