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How do I measure the success of a safety program?

A new year brings an opportunity for a fresh start, including a renewed focus on safety management for your farm. You’ve implemented a safety program, but now is your opportunity to measure its effectiveness and review any updates required. A properly implemented and maintained safety management system supports the health and safety of your workers and your business.

Why is safety important in Agriculture?

The agricultural industry has one of the highest fatality rates in comparison to other industries, safety is always a prevalent topic for discussion. From machinery to livestock, there are dangers and risks in every commodity of agriculture daily.


What’s the difference between a Safety Management System vs a Safety Program

Its easy to get confused and caught up in the terminology, who has a system and who has a program. The easiest way to think about it, your Safety Management Systems helps you to implement and manage your Safety Program across your farm.

A Safety Management System is an ever changing, continuously improving, system to learn from. A system helps you identify gaps in your program so you can target areas and make adjustments. Your Safety Program is your policies and procedures with a focus on compliance, it communicates your requirements. A Safety Program rarely changes on its own but tends to change as the result of an incident or a legislative change.


How can I make my farm safer in 2024? 

You’ve invested in a safety management system, covered all the topics, ticked all the boxes, but how do you know for sure your safety program is performing?  If you don’t take the time to reflect on your health and safety performance, how do you know where you can improve.

Like most success stories, change is not effective without a positive cultural shift. You need support from management, supervisors, workers and contractors. How do you gain that support, worker engagement and traction on your farm? You demonstrate the effectiveness of your Safety Program and continue to build upon its success for the future.

Are you measuring and communicating the positive impacts your Safety Program is generating? An incident on farm can have a costly impact, both financially and to the morale of your workers. You could consider evaluating key safety statistics to measure the impacts of your Safety Program. Have you thought about the number of injuries and near misses, worker compensation claims, safety culture amongst workers? Are the number of incidents declining? Has most of your workforce completed training, or could more training be beneficial? What worker training achievements could you identify and share with your team?

Good housekeeping could be another element of your Safety Program to review. Are procedures regularly being completed and look at the number of procedures completed. Has there been a number of new policies introduced to make your farm safer based on the previous year’s learnings and growth?

Remember, as we said before it isn’t about passing or failing it’s about learning, evolving and developing your Safety Program. At first you need to establish a baseline; otherwise how do you tell if your performance was good or bad? Comparing your results to the previous month or year is a good place to start identifying any trends.

Did you know that even safety inspections and completed checklists should be viewed as measurements of success, not failure. If your team is regularly completing Safety Inspections and Checklists this could indicate that potential hazards and dangers are being recognised earlier and fixed quicker. Each area of your farm could be being made safer with every completed Safety Inspection. When we say this, think of it like taking a test, the first attempt you might have achieved a score of 70%. But over time and with a bit more effort you could be scoring 99%. Perhaps there was missing signage the first time around or you’ve identified damaged PPE that needs replacing.

Some other ideas to look back through in 2024:

  • Survey your workers at the end of training. Are your training methods effective?

Have an open discussion with your workers on whether they feel benefitted from the training sessions. Do the methods or messaging need to be changed up for them, do they understand what is required of them? Are they taking their training seriously enough and comprehending their own Health and Safety requirements? These are all valid points and questions to ask yourself and your team to gain a better understanding of their knowledge.

  • Test the knowledge of your workers before and after the safety training. 

Question them before the training to see where they stand in their safety knowledge, then compare their results afterwards to see who is still requiring more training. Who doesn’t love a quiz? Question your workers before training starts. Are they aware of their own health and safety requirements in the workplace? Do they know where the Emergency Assembly Point is? Do they need more frequent training? Doing an actual quiz may be of benefit.

  • Measure performance improvement through analysis of your records like near miss and incidents.

Compare the number of reports received before and after implementing your Safety Program. Are you receiving more now that the process is quicker? While the influx of hazards and near misses and incident reports may raise alarms at first, it may come as a sign that workers are more comfortable with this reporting system. Meaning more risks are acknowledged and fixed sooner rather than later.


We all have to start somewhere. So how will you measure success?

There is a range of information and data you could be reviewing, but don’t let that overwhelm you.

You’re probably wondering why we’re dragging ourselves into this conversation. That’s because we’re a safety management system styled for the agricultural industry, made for farmers, by farmers!

Our software is a cloud-based safety management system that has the features and tools to successfully assist your business in improving your workplace safety and your record-keeping and reporting processes.

On top of policies, procedures, training and reporting features, Safe Ag Systems also has Inventory Management, a Task Manager and Safety Checklists. Streamlining work processes in your business.

Interested? We offer a 7 Day Free Trial for you to access all of our features, tools, templates and resources so you can get a good feel if our program is the perfect fit for your business.

Topics: Safety Management System

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Disclaimer: Content on this website may be of relevance to users outside of Australia, but content links and examples are specific to Australia. Please check with your local authority for your country and industry requirements.


Originally published 05 January, 2024.

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