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The key components of the STEP Safety Management System work synergistically to build an effective safety culture. Beyond responsibilities, resources and rules are imperative. All three “Rs” work together and missing just one sets a company up for potential failure.

There is one additional “R” that affects the equation: relationships. Safety is all about relationships and planning, and planning requires logical allocation of resources following a specific set of rules.

You must allocate resources for safety during the planning phase of a project. Waiting too long will cause insurmountable issues during later phases and jeopardize employee health and project viability. When resources are lacking, leaders must be willing to immediately stop, reevaluate and move forward after enacting a plan utilizing sufficient resources to mitigate identified and potential hazards.

Success in Safety = Responsibilities Explained + Rules Understood + Resources Allocated + Robust Relationships

Trailing indicators are metrics used to measure past safety performance and are usually based on a calendar or policy year. Two traditional trailing indicators for safety are Total Recordable Incident Rate and Days Away, Restricted or Transferred rate. Both TRIR and DART are compiled using the formula from the OSHA 300 form. These are expressed in the number of incidents per 100 employees. Additionally, your insurance broker can provide you with your Experience Modification Rate, which is another commonly used trailing indicator. Trailing indicators are like the final score of a game: They tell you results, and you can study them when planning for future improvement.

To be more effective, find other metrics that can be expressed in terms that are meaningful to people outside of the safety department. For example, if you’re a concrete company, workers’ comp costs per 100 cubic yards of concrete might make sense, or workers’ comp costs per $100 of payroll may resonate as well. Listen to your executives and front-line workforce and learn to speak their language to build those robust relationships to make your company safer for everyone.

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.