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DOS & DON’TS: [√] Set Safety Goals for Employees

In addition to setting safety goals for your company overall, you should also set safety goals for employees that are consistent with and support the company’s goals. For example, if a company goal is to reduce the injury rate by a certain percentage, improved safety training would help the company achieve that goal. So set individual worker goals that are aligned with the reduction target, such as achieving 100% attendance at safety meetings and completing assigned safety training modules.

That’s the approach that Dow Chemical took. The company dramatically improved its environmental, health and safety (EHS) performance by taking many steps, including setting safety goals for employees—workers, supervisors and managers. One of the company goals was to achieve a 90% reduction in the injury rate over 10 years. But its individual worker safety goals didn’t include specific injury and illness target numbers. Instead, worker goals tracked items related to the prevention of injuries or environmental incidents, such as making safety observations and completing hazard assessment cards. In addition, all managers’ personal performance as well as their work groups’ EHS performance were tied to compensation, promotions and job assignments.

In addition to injury rate goals, Dow set other goals to improve its EHS performance, including:

  • Improving incident investigation and reporting;
  • Recognizing employees who identify and make suggestions for safety improvements; and
  • Implementing and monitoring a safe behaviour observation program.

To further such goals and correct safety at the employee level, individual worker safety goals included items such as:

  • Observing co-workers’ behaviour to ensure safe practices are followed;
  • Reporting near misses or previously unidentified hazards;
  • Ensuring that other work team members completed the year without injuries;
  • Achieving an above average housekeeping score for the team’s work area;
  • Committing zero infractions for safety violations;
  • Reviewing safe operating procedures with a supervisor and making suggestions for improvements;
  • Achieving 100% compliance with machine lockout procedures; and
  • Participating in root cause investigations of incidents or near misses.

Insider Says: Learn how Dow’s serious commitment to long-term EHS goals resulted in significant benefits for workers and the environment—as well as the company’s bottom line.