Leading Indicators

Last updated: February 9, 2017

What Does Leading Indicators Mean?

Leading indicators are measures preceding or indicating a future event used to drive and measure activities carried out to prevent and control injury. Leading indicators have predictive value and can therefore be used to improve occupational health and safety management in general.

Safeopedia Explains Leading Indicators

Leading indicators tend to focus on the positive rather than the negative. Examples of leading indicators are:

  • The percentage of managers with adequate occupational health and safety training
  • The percentage of workers with adequate occupational health and safety training
  • The number of workplace inspections
  • Frequency of (observed) (un)safe behaviour
  • The number of occupational health and safety audits performed
  • Prevalence of certain health problems
  • Work Ability Index, which predicts the likelihood of early retirement
  • Safety climate/attitude (survey)

Leading indicators are focused on future safety performance and continuous improvement. These measures are proactive in nature and report what workers are doing on a regular basis to prevent injuries. Although leading indicators state what a company is doing to become better, they do not state the impact of the initiatives taken.


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