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Modern day top leadership engagement is continuing to trend away from the traditional command-and-control approach. Far from the “I think it, you do it” model, the total human health approach to top management is all about leadership—curious, engaged and relational. Safety isn’t left to chance or considered the responsibility of just the safety director; safety is managed and led just like every other operation in the company, from accounts receivable to customer experience. 

In all departments, people closest to the work at hand want to provide input and guidance on how their work is done. The same is true regarding safety programs. Leaders who are willing to listen to front-line supervisors and the workforce will create an environment that promotes buy-in, higher adoption and quicker implementation. The important follow-through for top management engagement is identifying metrics that are accurate and just and recognizing the effort of the workforce to achieve the goals.

Metrics tied to leading indicators rather than lagging indicators will keep the workforce engaged and focused. Leading indicators account for how current actions affect safety. Which leading indicators are the best predictor of future performance for your company? Some leading indicators will allow your company to target limited resources more effectively, specific to areas that need these resources the most. Beyond the trusted percentage completion of training metric (or submitted observations, toolbox talks, etc.), total human health looks at factors outside the jobsite that affect safety performance, mental health and/or distractions and impairment. 

For example, ask yourself these leading indicator questions:

  • Is commute time measured and trended?
  • Are daily huddles conducted?
  • Is there a high percentage of participation in the 401(k)?
  • Does the workforce participate in good causes and actions that benefit the greater community?
  • Do people have opportunities to improve their skills and learn new skills to put them on a desired career path?
  • Do supervisors participate in professional development to ensure they manage and lead the company’s most valuable resource—its people?

To be most effective, metrics must be easy to understand, data must be simple to collect and data should be shared nearly instantaneously via dashboards. When choosing the right metrics, leaders must ensure the metrics are meaningful to the corporate culture and appropriate to where your company is in its current health and safety journey.

Looking for help building your safety program?

Discover resources available through ABC’s STEP Safety Management System and other health and safety topics at

For more information or assistance, please reach out to Joe Xavier or Aaron Braun.