SLC 2017 Q&A: Developing Leading Indicators for Construction Sites

Aug. 2, 2017
Improve the effectiveness of your safety process by changing the way you measure success.

Joel Pickering, senior vice president of Lendlease Construction, will speak twice in the Construction Track at the 2017 Safety Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Sept. 11-13. Here, he discusses his session about developing leading indicators for construction projects, "Developing Leading Indicators for Your Construction Site."

EHS Today: Can you offer us a description of your presentation and how it relates to safety leadership?

Joel Pickering: One way to improve the effectiveness of your safety process is to change the way it is measured.

Measurement is an important part of any management process and forms the basis for continuous improvement. Measuring safety performance is no different and effectively doing so will compound the success of your improvement efforts.

Finding the perfect measure of safety is a difficult task. What you want is to measure both the bottom-line results of safety as well as how well your facility is doing at preventing accidents and incidents. To do this, you will use a combination of lagging and leading indicators of safety performance.

So why should leaders use leading indicators? Leading indicators are focused on future safety performance and continuous improvement. These measures are proactive in nature and report what employees are doing on a regular basis to prevent injuries. This is what leaders strive to do.

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EHS Today: Why is the topic of your presentation of interest to you and why is it important to SLC attendees?

Joel Pickering: We have to use all the tools available to us to create an environment that drives us to a zero-incident job site.

EHS Today: Please share an example of a personal or professional experience you’ve had related to safety leadership or the topic of your presentation.

Joel Pickering: Using leading indicators cuts down on the potential to have an incident, pre-qualification gets good contractors onsite, drug testing reduces threats.

EHS Today: What are the takeaways you hope to leave with attendees? 

Joel Pickering: The takeaways are:

  • Allow you to see small improvements in performance.
  • Measure the positive: what people are doing versus failing to do.
  • Enable frequent feedback to all stakeholders.
  • Be credible to performers.
  • Be predictive.
  • Increase constructive problem solving around safety.
  • Make it clear what needs to be done to get better.
  • Track impact versus intention.

EHS Today: What do you think are some of the most pressing EHS and risk management issues facing corporate leaders and safety professionals in 2017 and beyond?

Joel Pickering: Reviewing the risks at all levels of the project and implementing a mitigation plan that get passed all the way down to the field level.

EHS Today: How will this session help attendees be a better resource for their employees and company?

Joel Pickering: I will provide tools in both sessions that they can use once they get back to their sites.

(EHS Today's 2017 Safety Leadership Conference and America’s Safest Companies Award Program will take place Sept. 11-13 in Atlanta, GA at the Hilton Atlanta. This event is designed to share best leadership, risk management, compliance and safety practices with EHS professionals hoping to achieve world-class safety at their companies. The conference features 28 sessions across four performance tracks; Safety & Risk Management, Compliance, Construction Safety and Safety Technology.)

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