Industrial safety goals may vary from location to location, but the methods used to target and work toward the goals are relevant no matter the facility. Whether your goals relate to OSHA regulations, fire safety requirements, or industry in general, it is important to target the right processes for the best results, rather than spending time tackling irrelevant changes or unnecessary facility updates. These goal-setting ideas and tips are a good starting point for a range of manufacturing and industrial locations.

How to Target the Right Safety Goals

While a facility won’t reach a goal of zero total injuries or no damaged pallets, prioritizing the reduction in incidents or damage may be a suitable target. When setting safety goals, always strive for realistic, achievable targets by striving for SMART goals, or goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

With this strategy in mind, consider three examples of how to choose goals, implement related processes to reach them, and evaluate for success.

1) Implement a Self-Audit Process

Self-audits can include daily task lists, monthly inspection checklists, or quarterly compliance reviews—and each of these can help catch concerns early to improve overall safety. For example, if a daily checklist implemented within a department reveals that an egress or emergency exit is not properly accessible, it provides the opportunity to remove any obstruction at the start of a shift. This not only helps prevent fines for safety violations but also improves overall safety in case of an emergency situation. Similarly, self-audits may turn up mechanical concerns with machinery or vehicles, damage or quality concerns with floor signs, missing floor markings that contribute to Slip, Trip, and Fall (STF) hazards, or inconsistencies in training versus process.

Self-Audit Goal-Setting Example

When implementing self-audits for safety, determine a specific target, and a related timeframe—for example, implementing a monthly check to gauge floor marking wear and tear. This monthly audit will require a form or checklist with specific items that should be checked, for example, examining floor marking tape and sign applications in all hallways and production floor spaces to determine if the tape is worn, dirty, peeling, scraped, or otherwise damaged.

You may choose a grading system, such as:

  • 1 – Requires immediate replacement
  • 2 – Will require replacement within three months
  • 3 – Replacement necessary within six months
  • 4 – Needs minor repair limited to one or two small sections
  • 5 – Visual cues in good condition, no action necessary

Including the ability to add photos to the inspection file will help with documentation: If you must look back later, you can see when the damage began and how quickly the floor markings deteriorated in order to determine the cause and potential solutions to extend the life of your floor markings.

To achieve this goal, it would be wise to assign the task to a specific position and require they check and submit the results by a certain recurring deadline—the first Friday of each month may be an ideal date. To keep the goal time-bound, aim to have the process in place by the end of the second quarter.

2) Increase Process Feedback from Employees

While success rates may be determined by looking at the data, it can be difficult to tell whether programs are benefitting staff members in the ways you intend. For example, if you’ve implemented new measures to decrease bottlenecks in production, you may find that the production rate has increased, but staff are becoming overwhelmed or quality control notes an increase in defective products. If you gather feedback from employees, you find that more visual cues are needed, processes are too complicated, or the production floor layout could use improvements.

Employee Feedback Rate Goal-Setting Example

Setting a goal for a 10 percent increase in feedback from production floor staff members may look like: Providing opportunities to leave anonymous feedback to collect safety concerns from employees without fear of retaliation, and accepting feedback on a rolling basis—with a goal of reviewing and addressing feedback quarterly. You may choose to roll out and train employees to use the feedback “inbox” by January 1st. To evaluate success, you will need to know how much feedback has been received in the past to compare.

Similarly, you may find that offering an incentive to encourage staff to provide ideas for improving manufacturing processes earns better involvement from staff members. Schedule an annual Kaizen Event in order to allow production staff and management to discuss concerns and brainstorm solutions. Remember, each goal should be specific, so even if you’ve targeted problem areas via employee feedback, you must then start the goal-setting process over again to create SMART goals that tackle specific concerns.

3) Reduce Falling Object Risks

Falling object safety protocol is imperative for industrial or construction locations, but action includes more than ensuring hard hat use alone: Because falling objects don’t always take a direct route to the ground, anyone in the surrounding area is at risk.

You may identify falling object risks during a self-audit, after reviewing incident reports, or after failing an inspection. No matter when the risks are identified, action is required to prevent future injury. Perhaps you’ve already implemented conventional fall protection such as safety nets and currently use proper tool harnesses. Annual facility training may already remind staff how to comply with any applicable safety regulations. But, improvements may still be possible.

Perhaps employee feedback overwhelmingly stated that the visual cues weren’t clear enough or could use improvement. Physical barriers and traffic control systems may be ideal for creating exclusion zones to keep pedestrians or vehicular traffic out of areas that carry the most risk. You may choose to update signs and floor marking tape to lessen the risk of falling objects.

These floor markings and signs may be used to:

  • Alert employees to any hazards that exist while walking below and in the vicinity
  • Bring attention to edges with easy-to-spot floor marking tape applied to the toeboards
  • Provide notice to not stack pallet loads higher than the specified limit
  • Offer reminders to always use tool tethers as required

Falling Object Safety Goal-Setting Example

In response to multiple falling object incidents, identify risk areas, such as edges, ladders, catwalks, and shelving. You may decide to close the working space for two consecutive days to apply new floor marking tape and signage with the goal to improve visual cues to reduce fallen object incidents by 75 percent, with success evaluated one year later, during the facility’s annual safety inspection.

Quick Safety Tip: Falling Object Hazards aren’t limited to tools, supplies, and debris. Snow and ice tumbling from overhangs or other natural hazards should be considered in any visual cue plan.

To improve facility safety, you must first set manageable, achievable goals that you’ll tackle and evaluate within a set timeframe. If you don’t meet the goal, it doesn’t mean failure: It may have been too aggressive of a target, so reevaluate, consider what steps to take, and try again. For more tips and information on how to implement and assess facility safety goals, explore our Resource Center.