While perhaps we don’t refer to them as New Year’s resolutions, setting yearly goals is something that most businesses do, or should be doing to reduce risk. Strong, established safety goals are extremely important for the success of any organization’s safety program. Moreover, much like our personal resolutions, it’s hard to know where to begin and what our company goals should look like. Here are the three things that every goal you set should do:
Address a Need
Don’t concoct safety goals based on what you think your company should be doing or what everyone else is doing, base them on the issues and needs that are present in your organization. What safety concerns have you had over the past year? When Catto conducts our mid-year reviews we will have already identified a few claims and accident trends. Start with that information and address those concerns with your own Safety Goals. For example, If you had three motor vehicle accidents last year, a realistic safety goal could be to reduce motor vehicle accidents to zero in the new year.
Goals should be SMART, or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. You may have heard this one before, but it’s often overlooked when leaders write goals. If your goal addresses a safety need in your organization, it’s relevant and likely specific, but it also needs to be attainable, measurable, and timely. It would be desirable, for instance, to have a goal to reduce all workplace injuries to zero. However, it can be a slow journey to arrive at zero. Keep in mind that you may have to change your culture and the way people or employees think. Without the cultural change, which can take time, you run a higher risk of incidents happening. One way you can work towards cultural change is with SMART goals.
For example, a goal to reduce motor vehicle accidents from three to zero in the upcoming year is a more realistic and reachable goal than having no claims or workplace injuries. The goal is also measurable because it is quantifiable. If the goal was simply “reduce motor vehicle accidents,” it would be unclear as to how many motor vehicle accidents would be acceptable in order to meet the goal. This also goal meets the timely criteria because it establishes a time frame for measurement-- one year. Without a set time parameter, it’s difficult to stay on track with actions that lead to goal achievement. To be measurable, it is imperative there should be regular progress checks to see where things stand.
I’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: safety is everyone’s responsibility. The president, managers, or safety coordinator shouldn’t be the only people involved in working toward safety goals. Employees should be made aware of and involved in setting organizational safety goals, and the steps that they can take individually and as a whole to help achieve those goals. If one of the company’s goals is to have zero motor vehicle accidents in the next year, let employees know that.
Make sure that you’re taking actions to meet the goal, like training all employees who drive company or personal vehicles in the course and scope of their job. Without SMART goals, your safety program will be directionless, and without good safety goals, ineffective. Safety goals are supposed to be designed to address the company’s safety needs, be SMART, and involve everyone in the organization, from top to bottom.