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Safety Performance Metrics. “Put Some Science in Your Game with Leading and Trailing Indicators”. Tom Lott Senior Vice President Wachovia Insurance Services Charlotte, NC. Leading and Trailing Indicators – Just Another “Passing Concept”?. Concept – Long History in Financial Markets

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“Put Some Science in Your Game with Leading and Trailing Indicators”

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Safety Performance Metrics

“Put Some Science in Your Game with

Leading and Trailing Indicators”

Tom Lott

Senior Vice President

Wachovia Insurance Services

Charlotte, NC

Leading and Trailing Indicators –Just Another “Passing Concept”?

  • Concept – Long History in Financial Markets

  • Risk Management Industry

    • Not a new Concept, but for the industry, far from recognized and utilized to it’s potential

    • Many have used approaches to some extent or another

  • What are We Advocating?

    • The use of Risk Management Leading Indicators as a Sound and Scientific Way to measure and drive risk management improvements


  • Leading Indicator –An indicator whose value changes prior to a change in the larger system of which it is a component

  • Trailing (Lagging) Indicator -An economic or other indicator that changes value after the underlying conditions it measures have begun to exhibit a trend. Trailing indicators may confirm the existence of a condition or trend, but are not the most effective means for prediction.

The “Fishbone” Theory



Corporate Culture and Commitment



Catastrophic Losses

Incidents & Near Misses


Engineering & Process Design

Loss Prevention Practices

Incident Response & Claims Management




What Do Leading & Trailing Indicators look Like in Action?


Top Level Report Links Leading Indicators with Trailing Indicators – Safety to Financial

What Do RM Leading Indicators look Like?

What Do RM Leading & Trailing Indicators look Like?


What Do RM Leading Indicators look Like?

3 Dimensions

  • Technical

  • Cultural

  • Financial

What Do RM Leading & Trailing Indicators look Like?

Quantitative Leading Indicators

  • Employee Turnover Rate

  • Job Satisfaction Rating

  • Inspection Compliance Score

  • Driver Training Test Scores

  • MVR Quality

  • Vehicle Inspection Results

  • PPO Utilization

Qualitative Based Leading Indicators

  • Quality of Hiring Process

  • Quality of Employee performance Reviews

  • Quality of Safety Accountability Program

  • Quality of RTW Program

  • Quality of Process Review Program

  • Quality of Ergonomics

What Do RM Leading & Trailing Indicators look Like?

Trailing Indicators

  • Defect Rate

  • Reported Incidents

  • Reported Accidents

  • Number of claims

  • Lost Workday Rate

  • $ Losses / Employee

  • $ Losses per payroll

  • $ Losses per product

  • Avg Cost per Employee

  • Avg Cost Per Vehicle

* Note – Many of these indicators could serve as both leading or trailing indicators, based on approach

Getting Started

Two Basic Types of Approaches depending on what you are trying to Improve:

  • Focused – Focus on a specific loss or exposure area (Slips/Falls)

  • Organizational – Broad application of loss and/or exposure areas

Building Your Approach

Key Selection Criteria

  • Correlate Leading and Trailing Indicators

  • “Peel Back” from Loss and Exposure Analysis, Accident Investigations, etc.

  • Thorough Analysis To Select Best Leading Indicators that will drive positive change (Management Levers)

  • Make this a group effort. People will own the issues and actions. Continue on a Regular basis

  • Be Comprehensive in Approach (Training w/out enforcement won’t work)

  • Warning: Watch what you Measure (ex. # good performance reviews per manager)


  • Continuously test, review and Adjust Indicators based on Results.

What Do RM Leading & Trailing Indicators look Like? - Examples

Slip Fall Program – Restaurant Chain

  • Engineering

    • Floor Design

    • Floor Condition

    • Signs & Warning

    • Maintenance and Cleaning

  • Employees

    • Training

    • Accountability

    • Shoe Program

  • Post Incident

    • Investigation

    • Claims Management

Importance of the Assessments

  • Be the Facilitator

  • Get Good Cross Section of Organization

  • Power of the Employee Interviews

  • Managing Expectations

  • Using the Guidelines to Determine Next Steps

Using the Results

  • Get Group Focused on Outcomes

  • Build into Management Accountability

  • Use in Chargeback Systems

  • Correlate to Overall Results

Summary of Key Concepts

Focus onRisk Management QualityLeading Indicators

  • (Culture, Engineering, Training, etc.) to Drive Down Trailing Indicators (Incidents, losses, etc.)

  • Choose Leading Indicators Carefully

    • Thorough Causal Analysis of Past losses and Potential Exposures

    • Choose indicators that will drive positive behaviors and improvements

    • Make sure they correlate to the trailing indicators

    • Be comprehensive in approach (training w/out accountability is worthless)

  • Be Practical

    • Must choose approach that fits with culture and needs of organization

    • Measure the “Big ticket” items – The ones that will cause the most change in trailing indicators.

    • Be outcome focused. (Change Employee Perception)

  • Questions & Answers

    For more information, contact:

    Tom Lott

    Senior Vice President

    National Practices Leader

    Wachovia Insurance Services

    Charlotte, NC


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