Measuring Performance – What is performance measurement about?

So far you have learned why you need to manage health and safety, what you have to do and how you can do it.  We’ve also covered how you can learn when things go wrong.
But do you know how you’re doing overall?  Is this year the same as last, is it worse or is it better?  Remember the sports team in Lesson ?  They measured their performance by games won, drawn and lost, and their position on the leader board.

The best way to find out is to set some indicators that enable you to keep am eye on what you’re doing in health and safety terms.

Although we may not realise it, measuring performance is important in all aspects of our lives, at leisure and at work.  At work, our performance is measured by our manager against particular criteria.

Performance indicators provide us with information on:

  • what’s going on around us
  • what’s happened so far
  • potential problems or dangers that we may need to respond to.

For example, think about driving a lorry:

The speedometer gives information on speed and allows us to make adjustments to deal with current speed limits.  Similarly, the fuel and oil gauges provide information that allows us to take action before the lorry stops working because it’s run out of fuel.

the tachograph is a device that gives us information on the distance travelled and time taken.

The satellite navigation system provides information on our proposed route and any delays that crop up.

There are two types of indicators:

Proactive indicators give us information about aspects of our current situation that may impact future performance.  In the lorry scenario, the equipment (speedometer, fuel gauge and satellite navigation system) can provide information on the speed and traffic flow.  to help you arrive at your destination efficiently and safely.
Reactive indicators give us information on the outcomes of our past actions.  In this case of driving, we may look at the distance travelled and the number of hours we’ve spent driving.  Both types of indicators are important.

It’s good practice to develop performance measures that match organisational or departmental objectives.  There’s not much point developing indicators that tell you about something that’s not really important to your organisation or department.