Lagging or leading? Exploring the temporal relationship among lagging indicators in mining establishments 2006–2017
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Lagging or leading? Exploring the temporal relationship among lagging indicators in mining establishments 2006–2017

Filetype[PDF-102.94 KB]

  • English

  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      J Safety Res
    • Description:

      Safety management literature generally categorizes key performance indicators (KPIs) as either leading or lagging. Traditional lagging indicators are measures related to negative safety incidents, such as injuries, while leading indicators are used to predict (and therefore can be used to prevent) the likelihood of future negative safety incidents. Recent theory suggests that traditional lagging indicators also possess characteristics of leading indicators, and vice versa, however empirical evidence is limited.


      The current research investigated the temporal relationships among establishment-level injuries, near misses, and fatal events using injury and employment data from a sample of 24,910 mining establishments over a 12-year period.


      While controlling for employee hours worked, establishment-level reported injuries and near misses were associated with of future fatal events across the sample of mines and over the time period studied. Fatal events were also associated with increases in future reported near misses, providing evidence of a cyclic relationship between them.


      These findings challenge the strict categorization of injuries, near misses, and fatal events as lagging indicators.

      Practical applications:

      Understanding the KPIs that should be used to manage organizational safety, and how they can be used, is of critical practical importance. The results of the current study suggest that, depending on several considerations, metrics tied to negative safety incidents may be used to anticipate, and possibly prevent, future negative safety events.

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