Practical Steps to Creating Leading Indicators and Building A Safety Culture

SiteDocs Safety Management Software

Creating Leading Indicators and Building a Safety Culture

Once an organization commits to creating a strong safety culture, they face the daunting task of: 1 — Envisioning what that safety culture will look like at a practical level and 2 — Charting all the steps and changes towards that end goal.


Although managers and organizations have great intentions to operationalize safety culture, it is often to difficult to know what steps can be taken to make immediate impact.

The most effective and efficient path to produce this culture shift is a well-worn secret: visibility.

Imagine that a safety manager was shadowing an employee for the day, watching all their activities.   You can be sure that they would be much more aware of whether they were taking all the steps to be safe

Obviously a safety manager can’t have this level of visibility, because they can’t walk side-by-side with all their employees ensuring toolbox talks and safety inspections are done promptly. Or can they?

Technology is available that can make this a reality.  Digital safety technology allows you to save time and money and see what your team is doing in real time.  Your team doesn’t need to become technological gurus, they simply use their phone or tablet to fill in their regular safety forms.  All interested parties (primes, subs, managers, front-office) have real-time access to these form submissions.

Because employees know that a lack of safety documentation will be noticed, they have safety inspections and toolbox talks (and the like) front and center in their mind.  Take the example of our pilot with MHCA.

The pilot company trialled SiteDocs Digital Safety software in a remote environment.  In the past, the team would ‘catch up’ on safety documentation at the end of the week.  But once they started using SiteDocs, because they knew that missing documentation would be noticed, they began each day with safety on their mind and taking all the necessary steps.

By moving to digital safety, you automatically create the dynamics that cause a shift in the safety culture, with little effort.  Switching to digital forms and teaching your team to fill them in is a short process with immediate results.  Take the example of Epic Environmental.  One of their prime contractors asked them to use SiteDocs so that their safety forms were automatically submitted (automatically filing a copy in the prime’s SiteDocs account).  But Epic didn’t just find that they obtained greater operational efficiencies, it made their employees safer.  Unprompted they posted the following on LinkedIn.

SiteDocs has drastically changed our company culture towards safety and has improved employee engagement and ownership of safety at the field level.

What’s the theory behind this?  It’s built around monitoring leading indicators instead of lagging indicators.  Of course we need lagging indicators: incident reports.  These are the data points that tell us we have a problem.

But by focusing on leading indicators, we ensure that each action required to create a culture of safety are encouraged and at the top of everyone’s mind.

Clearly, there is a lot of work required to build a culture of safety, but one of the most effective and efficient ways to take a quantum leap forward is to embrace digital workplace safety.

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