An important part of any occupational safety and health plan involves setting clear, definable,

and measurable goals. These goals should help shape the direction of the company, from a safety

and health perspective, including what designations, if any, are on the horizon, the number of

workplace incidents expected for the year, and what changes will be made to improve OSHA and

other regulatory compliance.

Clarity is the most important part of the goals. Vague goals which can be interpreted in a

multitude of ways are nearly useless; if the intent is not clear, it will not be attained. And if the

intent is not achieved, then the actions were in vain.

Being able to define the goals is necessary because it is the only way to track progress and

determine if a goal has been achieved. Many goals will be incrementally achieved, so achieving

those incremental pieces should be accounted for. For instance, if your goal is to rewrite your

entire safety program, there may be a goal to rewrite a certain part (such as lockout tagout or

evacuation) by a specified date. This way, you can track the progress to these goals, rather than

trying to tackle the entire program overhaul at once.

And finally, measurable is important because you need to be able to track effectiveness. A goal

of a “safer” workplace is difficult to actually measure. What is “safer?” That can be something

different to everyone. Instead, setting a goal of “replace all safety goggles by June 1,” is a very

tangible and measurable goal. If there are 50 goggles, each goggle replace and logged can be

measured to allow you to know how much further you need to go to achieve the goal.

If you are in the process of setting safety goals and would like some help in setting or planning to

achieve them, please contact us. If you have anything else to add about safety goals, please leave

a comment.