The mining industry uses both leading and lagging indicators. As described in the ICMM’s guide, Overview of leading indicators for occupational health and safety in mining, lagging, or outcomes, indicators follow instances of damage, injury or harm; and inform measures which can reduce future incidents. Leading, or activities, indicators look forward to provide warnings of future harm. Leading indicators are a relatively new tool, with uptake increasing rapidly according to the ICMM.
Lagging indicators are well-established within the industry. However, with a company’s success in reducing OHS incidents and nearing “zero harm,” the difficulty of further improving safety increases due to the reduced availability of outcomes-based metrics. As well, a reduction in the number of OHS incidents reduces the reliability of determining causal relationships between a company’s processes and harmful outcomes.
The ICMM analysis is intended to aid the industry in identifying and using leading indicators, as well as developing an appreciation for their use in conjunction with lagging indicators. ICMM considers leading indicators to be a valuable emerging tool, and recognize that there are further development opportunities: regular and frequent sectoral cooperation; improved understanding of the safety climate and culture; and, elevating the salience of health issues.
By Cheryl Johnson, [email protected]