Safety Assessments Greatly Improve Company Compliance

Safety assessments are my secret weapon. Yes, safety assessments are the most important safety management tool that helps me ensure that the company, as a whole, has high safety compliance.

That’s why safety assessments are one of the keys to my success in safety management. I want you to become successful as well, so let’s talk about safety assessments-why they work and how to effectively implement them.

Why Safety Assessments Works

Despite the simple process of creating safety assessments, it works because it is rooted in the law of large numbers. The law of large numbers is a theorem that states that as a sample size grows, its mean gets closer to the average of the whole population. Meaning that as you include more samples, the results of what you’re observing will become more accurate and can represent the population as a whole.

This is what safety assessments are. These assessments are observations of the workforce at one period of time. And so, the results from these can represent the company as a whole. That’s the beauty of it. And since you’ve got an accurate representation of a company’s overall compliance you can pinpoint what areas you’ll need to focus on and what adjustments should you make.

Keeping Safety Assessments Simple Makes Them Effective

Now, as I’ve previously said, safety assessments are simple. That’s what makes them effective. That is why when creating assessments, you don’t need to include a lot of detail. In fact, a simple yes or no category will do. Because at the end of the observation what you’re left with is a bunch of statistics. So, keeping it simple makes it easier to compare the scores of their behavior.

What I like to personally do is, first, list down a list of safe work behaviors from the JHA or JSA that I’ve created. And then, make a tally system from that. Just a quick yes if they’ve followed a safe work behavior, and no, and no if not. And sometimes, depending on the behavior I’m observing, a partial yes or partial no.

Then, after observing around 15 people, I round up the scores of the observations and create percentages of the workers’ compliance with each safe work behavior. And from the statistics you’ve created, you’ll see what safe work behavior is already being followed and what behavior needs to be worked on. Thus, this quality data can give you a clear direction of what areas to improve.

Take Action

I encourage you to download the template and try it out for a week. On the next episode, I will share with you how I used assessments to get double digit reductions at multiple facilities in less than 6 months.

Safety Assessments Help You Reduce Injuries And Improve Safe Work Behaviors

Safety Brye: [00:00:00] Today I am sharing my secret weapon. Okay. I don't know how secret it is, but it's definitely my absolute favorite data collection tool when it comes to safe work behaviors. And any time I would feel like the compliance of my program was slipping, it's usually because I either stopped doing these or I slowed down using this tool.

So today we are talking safety assessments. Let's get to it.

Hey there, safety friends. Welcome to the Safety Geek Podcast. I'm Brye Sargent CSP and 20 year Safety Professional. After spending years training safety leaders across the globe for a large corporation and creating safety programs from the ground up over and over again. I am now sharing my processes and strategies with you.

At the Safety Geek, you will learn how to manage an effective safety program that increases your

[00:01:00] management support, and employee engagement, all the while helping you elevate your position and move up in your career, if you're ready to step into the role of a safety influencer and leader, you're in the right place.

Let's get to it.

Hello. Hello. Hello. My safety friend. I feel like a lot of safety people are just consumed by doing audits of their facilities and their programs, and I just, one of the most hateful things that I like to do. I try to do them few and far between, and I am not against audits. In fact, next month I will be hosting a self-evaluation challenge, which is an audit.

So I totally believe in doing an audit at least once a year, but it's not where I focus all of my time. So be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the challenge announcement and to get on my newsletter list to be the first to be notified

[00:02:00] when enrollment for the challenge opens. So just go to But enough about audits. I want you to understand how I think about the different tools within safety management. And a lot of time when people use the term audit, they will combine multiple different things in there. And I believe in keeping every task that we do separate with a separate purpose. So when I think about an audit, it's an examination of the program as a whole, including compliance, and that's what I save for either that self-evaluation or maybe a third party.

Sometimes our customers require audits, or sometimes we're trying to get regulatory recognition and that would require an audit, and that's fine. But on the day-to-day stuff, I don't call them audits. What I call them are, we do inspection. We inspect and examine the physical property, so if you are

[00:03:00] examining the facility or the physical property, I'll call those inspections. I also believe that we should be doing hazard assessments, and I have a whole workshop on that, but hazard assessments are identifying the hazards within the workplace so that way you can use those results to create your JHAs and develop mitigation plans. Those should be done every couple of years. And then we also do observations and coaching on individuals to make sure that they are trained properly, that they understand the training, and then to guide them to make the right choices and the right behaviors.

So where a safety assessment fits in is it's a very similar tool to an observation, right? So the way I look at it is inspections or the facilities and and observations, coaching and assessments are the people and the behaviors. So they're very similar to observations, but we don't attach a name to it. We can attach a department to it, but it looks at all the

[00:04:00] behaviors in either the company or the department as a whole. So the way a safety assessment ends up playing out is that it's a way to measure the pulse of your program, the compliance of your entire program. And they can tell you how well the company as a whole is following your guidelines and your guidance, right?

Following your policies, your procedures, your programs and safety assessments allow you to pinpoint areas where safe behaviors aren't being followed. And just like I said in the last episode, you then want to dive deeper into identifying the root cause as to why those behaviors are not being follow.

And safety assessments allow you to do that before an accident happens. So it's not part of an accident investigation. It's after it's before an accident even happens. You're able to root cause out why they're not following those safe behaviors and safety assessments are based on the statistics concept of the law of large numbers,

[00:05:00] which states that the larger your sample size, the more accurately you can predict an outcome or a result. So when you rely just on observations, your sample size is that one employee at that given time. You can rely on coaching that expands it a little bit because you can coach a handful of employees within a short timeframe. But assessments allow you to look at a large swath of your workforce all at once during one period of time, giving you more accurate results.

And now to implement assessments. I'm gonna give you my step by step on how I put them in place, and I actually have a template for you. It's a little sample template, super easy to use. You can download it in the show notes. So just go to right now. Once you've downloaded that, you want to grab a

[00:06:00] handful of safe work behaviors that you want to measure. I recommend that you get those from your JHAs or JSAs if you wanna call them that instead. Get those safe work behaviors from those. Hopefully you're kind of seeing, as I'm saying all of this right now, you're seeing how everything within safety management kind of connects together. You have your hazard assessment to create your JHAs, to create your observations, and then to create your assessments.

So hopefully you're seeing all of. But anyway, I recommend that you grab a handful of safe work behaviors, you pop them into that template and you only wanna watch a handful at a time. I actually tried to keep it to seven to 15. A general assessment is probably gonna take you about 20 to 35 minutes to do so kind of judge, like what area do I want to do the assessments on, and what are the safe work behaviors that I should be observing in that area. During that

[00:07:00] period of time, I'll even break mine down into like a certain job task, right? So maybe I'll do lifting and just do a lifting assessment, or maybe I'll do a machine operation and do a machine operation assessment. Maybe I'll do a housekeeping assessment, you know, something like that and break it down into a broader category of probably a problem area that I'm having.

So as you're watching the employees work, and typically what I would do is stand in one area, maybe move to another area, and then move to another area and just watch employees work. If they followed the safe work practice, then you would put, yes, they followed it, check mark, and if they didn't follow it, you would put a no.

No, they didn't follow it. Now I also like to give partial credit because in my experience, cuz I've been doing assessments for over 15 years. I would also give them a partial credit because like sometimes I'll see people do something like they'll be lifting, but yeah, they're lifting kind of correctly. They're kind of

[00:08:00] bending their knees, , but they should be bending them more. I wanna give them some credit. I don't wanna mark it off as a complete No. So I do, I use something called marginal. So if you download my template, you'll see marginal, which gives a half of a point, and I just use a tally system. Like grade school.

I mean, my safety program, I keep so simple and easy to understand. It is just like the little five slashes with the one slash across, like literally a tally system. And when it's all said and done, let's say that I made 10 behaviors. I observed 10 behaviors, and eight times they did it right, and two times they didn't for that particular behavior, it would give them a score of 80.

And when all is said and done, whatever the lowest score is on your assessment is where you need to focus your time. It's where you need to dive deeper into what's where you need to improve that behavior. And there's multiple ways that you could

[00:09:00] do that just by training or sharing the information or diving deeper like I talked about on the last episode.

And the more often you can do assessments, the more accurate your results. So maybe you don't wanna take action on just one assessment. You wanna do multiple assessments and combine those scores to maybe give you a weekly score or a biweekly score and then take action on that. And the best part about assessments is that when you are done and you have all of this data, you actually have information to back up your decision making process.

So remember, I think it was like maybe four episodes ago where I talked about letting data drive your decisions and it eliminates discrimination or favoritism or any of that. You have this data and you can actually show like, I am not picking on a certain department or a certain area. I am showing you that this is our problem.

[00:10:00] This is why I'm focusing on. Or if you are trying to get a safety initiative passed, you can bring this data to your decision makers, your management team, and you can show them this is the data and this is what I'm scared of and this is what it could possibly result in helping you make that business case for your safety initiative.

So safety assessments, they do take time, cuz like I said, they could take you in there from 20 to 35 minutes. And you might wanna do multiple of them, but for me, it is the best use of your time because as you are getting this data, as you are sharing it properly and creating a trend analysis system and demonstrating it to your management team, they then get it.

They then understand what they need to do to improve, and then in your case, reduce those injuries. So I encourage you to download the template in the show notes and try it out for a week. Just

[00:11:00] for one week, pick one area, maybe something simple like proper lifting or something that you see as a high injury area, and pick anywhere from seven to 15 behaviors and just start observing every day doing one assessment.

And next week I will show you how I actually use this process to get a double digit reduction at multiple facilities in less than six months. This is why I call it my secret weapon because it works quickly when you use it, and I will tell you every time I stop using it, my numbers start to get worse.

So it's just one of the best communication tools, data tools, and safety management tools. So that's what I got for you this week. My safety friend and I will chat again next week and we will talk about double digit reductions. See you soon. Bye for now.

[00:12:00] Hey, if you're just getting started in safety or you've been at this for a while and are hitting a roadblock, then I wanna invite you to check out Safety Management Academy. This is my in-depth online course that not only teaches you the processes and strategies of an effective safety management program, but how to entwine management support, and employee participation throughout your processes.

Are you ready to finally understand exactly what you should be doing and ditch that safety police hat forever? Then you have got to join me and your fellows Safety Scholars over at Safety Management Academy, just go to to learn more and to get started. That's and I will see you in our next students only live session.

Bye for now. [00:13:00]

Highlights From This Episode:

  • Why Safety Assessment is an Effective Data Collection Tool
  • Safety Assessments Measures the Strength of a Safety Program
  • How the Law of Large Numbers Related to Safety Assessments
  • Safety Assessments Help Observe the Safe Work Behaviors
  • The Collected Data on the Safety Assessments Can Support Decisions


So, there you have it, safety assessments are simple yet very effective in ensuring safety compliance. And if you need help in creating assessments, I’m giving free templates here at The Safety Geek. So, be sure to check them out.

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Hi, I'm Brye (rhymes with sky)!  I am a self-proclaimed safety geek with two decades of general industry safety experience.  Specializing in bringing safety programs to a world-class level and building a safety culture, I have trained and coached many safety managers, just like you, on how to effectively manage workplace safety in the real world.   I would love to help you too.

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