Since the biggest benefit to successful risk assessment is the absence of loss, it can at times be difficult to measure benefits. This makes picking the right metrics key to understanding the success and value of any risk management program. Many types of leading and lagging metrics can be used to both measure and continuously improve a risk assessment program. Two common types are detailed below.

Program Assessment

One of the most common metrics is the Program Assessment. Any safety management system (or “SMS” – such as OHSAS 18000 or ANSI Z10) requires an annual assessment of each element of the SMS, which includes risk assessment and risk management. One of the many ways of scoring an assessment is depicted below:

Balanced Scorecard

Another metrics-based approach is to use a complementary set of leading and lagging metrics, such as those presented by the Balanced Scorecard first introduced by Kaplan and Norton of Harvard in the 1990s (whose version of the balanced scorecard is depicted here).

    Kaplan and Norton include four quadrants:
  • Financial
  • Internal Business Processes
  • Learning and Growth
  • Customer

An example of using this balanced approach for risk assessment and management is presented below:

"Financial" Metric Options Specific Measures
Worker’s Compensation Improvements in Worker’s Compensation Insurance
Budget Implementation Ability to implement identified necessary controls
Manpower Risk assessment and implementation teams were provided time to do their assignments
"Internal Business Process" Metric Options Specific Measures
Management Systems Assessment Score Improvement in Process Score (Site)
Process Specific Implementation Closure Rate on Process Improvement Action Plans (Site)
Risk Reduction Residual risk levels were found to be acceptable % of additional elimination, substitution or engineering controls Reduction in use of PPE
"Learning and Growth" Metric Options Specific Measures
Continuous Improvement (Closure Rates) % of high-risk controls practiced / used
Training Retention Quiz (knowledge testing) conducted as part of inspection / observation (optional)
Activities # of hazard analyses performed
Training completed
Trend Analysis Establish goals based on hazard priorities
"Customer" Metric Options Specific Measures
Worker Perception Survey Scores and improvements
Injury and Illness Rate Improvement in trends
Industrial Hygiene Overexposures Reduction in number of people “required” to wear PPE
Employee Involvement Number of workers participating
Number of workers submitting suggestions
Number of employee recognitions, etc.