Health and safety performance benchmarking phase one outputs

Steven Naylor


Organisations generate a wealth of routine health and safety data as part of day-to-day operations that provide a useful proxy measure of how well they manage their health and safety risks as an organisation.   

Analysing this data to determine the extent to which current improvement initiatives are suitably targeted and to provide evidence to help decide where best to target future efforts forms a key component part of an organisation’s health and safety management system. 

Organisations are also looking to find ways to improve their health and safety performance by comparing key elements of it to that of their peers as part of a systematic approach to learning from “best in class”. 

Aims and objectives

This industry use case aims to provide organisations with the tools and supporting information they need to carry out effective health and safety performance benchmarking exercises. It aims to start by building tools benchmarking metrics built around lagging indicators of performance, principally, accident frequency rates. However, once the basic building blocks enabling organisations to benchmark their accident frequency rates have been built, the project will look to widen the scope to include leading indicators of health and safety performance. 

Key findings

  • The benchmarking tool works well within known limitations and can provide useful occupation-wide benchmark intelligence for industry comparison.  

  • There is value in upgrading the spreadsheet-based tool to a more user-friendly format. This is likely to include moving the tool to a web platform for easier access and enhancing visualisations of data using additional dynamic charts and graphs. There is also scope to implement an incident rate calculator in the tool, based on examples from the US and Australia. This would allow companies to enter their own information and get standardised statistics returned together with a comparison against the industry baseline. 

  • The tool has been demonstrated to select focus groups of industry stakeholders and benchmarking experts. Feedback has been generally positive, and further collaboration would help further understand the robustness of the underlying data. There have been suggestions that this work would make a more valuable contribution to a wider benchmarking toolkit that also incorporates wider leading key performance indicators. 

  • Occupation information stored in RIDDOR is currently based on free-text descriptions input by Reporters. Incorporating an intelligent drop-down list based on ONS SOCs for this could enable stricter limits on what can be input and remove the requirement for free-text classification. This increases the accuracy of injury rates, and improves the utility of wider RIDDOR analysis.   

  • Need to widen out scope to include leading indicators of H&S performance 

  • Value of creating a composite measure of performance  

  • Non-reporting and data quality a big challenge  

  • Challenge of different organisations wanting to measure different things  

  • For construction industry, challenge of key performance dimensions being very project and worksite specific, depending on specific client, contractor and subcontractor relationships  

Interest in and value of the qualitative perspective, sharing of experiences as opposed to hard data and quantitative metrics. 


  • Test idea of creating a composite indicator of performance for a clearly defined, homogenous sector (major hazard sites?); shift focus to regulator rather than regulated, use of regulators inspection ratings and other contextual data on organisations, e.g. financial health, adverse insurance reports; HSE in first instance with the potential to transfer thinking to other national regulators, tool to help prioritise major hazard site inspections  

  • Look to merge work with Leading Indicators project.