Dr. Dan Petersen defined world class safety as an organization that was within the best 10 percent of his customers at that particular point in time. The best had a total injury frequency of 1.0 – 1.2 and a lost time frequency of 10 percent of that, or about 0.1 based on 200,000 hours of work.

Some 20 years later our best customers have total injury frequency rates of 0.4- 0.7 and go multiple years without a lost time injury no matter which industry or country they operate in.

These lower downstream indicators come from accountability and process excellence. And so I would redefine “world class safety” as an organization that is continuously improving in safety and is relentless in their efforts to get to zero. I am really more interested in the organization’s safety culture focus and improvement efforts than in the downstream indicators.

These organizations engaged in the relentless pursuit of zero do some very interesting and effective things like:
  • Teach and live Near Miss excellence and then deliver 1-2 near miss solutions per employee per year. That means they do hundreds of Near Miss Resolutions each year and solve about 90 percent of them within 3-5 business days by the work group that turned them in. Their injury numbers plummet as a result of this intensity on fixing whatever is not right in their area of responsibility.

  • They run 2-4 continuous improvement safety teams each year to fix (error proof) the Safety Perception Survey key processes. In addition they also complete 3-5 other safety issue continuous improvement team items each year.

  • They all have completed a team focused on Safety Accountabilities. As a result personnel from all levels of their organization live these important safety culture upstream activities that deliver downstream indicator performance.
To get more depth ideas on these concepts you can read the Six Sigma Safety article that was published in Professional Safety a while back. You should also have your organization begin to live Dr. Dan Petersen’s Six Criteria of Safety Excellence. Both these safety engagement culture realities really work in helping you and your organization deliver and live a relentless pursuit of world class safety performance.