Q34. What are safety management objectives?

Safety management objectives are a useful tool for providing a measure of safety performance that can be tailored to specific operational areas, client projects or across various time periods. They should be focused towards continually improving workers' occupational safety and health (OSH) protection to achieve the best OSH performance within the organisation.

Setting performance criteria allows management to:

• Measure the safety performance of the organisation by highlighting trends.

• Focus safety activity on OSH target areas within an organisation.

• Assess OSH performance across projects carried out within an organisation.

• Assess OSH performance of contractors.

• Provide historical statistical data on safety performance.

• Benchmark performance against similar organisations or industry-wide performance standards.

Where OSH objectives are used year-on-year, whenever possible the same criteria should be used to ensure accurate long-term comparisons.

When setting objectives, it is important to assign responsibility for them. Who is responsible depends on the criteria on which the objective is based. For example, a business unit may set project-specific OSH objectives, so the project manager may be assigned the overall responsibility (and therefore accountability) to meet or improve upon the objectives set; corporate OSH objectives normally are the responsibility of senior management, who are accountable to the organisation's Board.

The nature of your organisation's business, the industry that it operates in and the criteria used within the organisation to assess performance are all factors in developing your own safety objectives. Whatever criteria are used to set these objectives, you should ensure that they are SMART - that is: S -Specific; M - Measurable; A - Attainable; R - Realistic; and T - Time-bound.

Q35. How do we decide what occupational safety and health objectives are required?

Areas where occupational safety and health (OSH) objectives can be set for your organisation are wideranging, but the following may provide some guidance on target-setting:

• Senior management participation and commitment: Participation on audit teams; visits to remote or foreign work locations; attendance at general safety or safety committee meetings; attendance at training events; fulfilling training schedule requirements.

• Standards: Adopting improved safety standards within the organisation.

• Financial: Allocation of increased financial resources for OSH budgets.

• Development of infrastructure: Implementation or roll-out of new safety equipment or systems; replacement of existing equipment with new equipment manufactured or fitted out to meet improved safety standards.

• Training: Increasing the range of training available; development of new training programmes; number of attendees fulfilling safety training requirements.

• Comparison with industry or national OSH statistics: Setting internal targets for accident and incident rates; percentage improvements on previous years' safety performance.

• Audit (internal and external): Number / percentage of completed internal and external audits carried out.

• Safety performance: Percentage of remedial actions (or action items) closed out within their specified time period; percentage reduction of remedial actions closed out beyond their due date.

Organisations that operate across the oil and gas exploration and production industry often subscribe to the OGP (International Association of Oil and Gas Producers) Health and Safety Incident Reporting System. In 2005, statistical data showed that one industry safety metric called the Lost Time Injury Frequency rate (LTIF)[1] decreased from 1.09 in 2004 to 0.97 in 2005 across the industry. If your organisation subscribed to this reporting system, one of your safety objectives might be: "To achieve an industry standard LTIF rate less than or equal to 0.97 (or the current industry average)".

  • [1] LTIF is the number of lost time injuries (fatalities + lost workday cases) per 1,000,000 hours worked.
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