Insights on Environmental Health & Safety (EHS), Operational Risk and Product Stewardship

Event Management – Benchmark Metrics

March 16th, 2017
Andy Hosman
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This blog is the last of a four-part series: Using Risk Ranking to Drive Behaviors, Efficiencies, and Insights

Building on the quality and cultural aspects relevant to event reporting, in this blog we will elaborate on a few of the many benchmark metrics gathered by Sphera across a number of companies involved in the webinar study. The webinar shares several representative metrics that companies can use to drive healthy competition between their business units and to compare themselves to industry peers.

The speakers categorized these metrics across a progressive four-level road map for operational excellence in risk management: Engaged Workforce, Process Disciplined, Barrier Focused and Learning/Optimizing. Actual data corresponding to these metrics demonstrated the progression of key initiatives at companies who participated in the study.

Under the Engaged Workforce level, the team emphasized the need to collect and analyze the underlying root causes of near-misses to correct them so they don’t lead to larger problems.

Charts displayed during the webinar present representative near-miss numbers normalized to total working hours that participating companies have reported. Engagement is also measured in terms of the distribution of the workforce that is reporting events, i.e., the percentage of individuals who are reporting events vs. the total population.

The Process Disciplined level outlines progress in terms of timeliness and mitigation percentages of determined action items. It also focuses on how much of the incident management workflow was executed consistently across all of the individual steps laid out in the process. This is a reflection of the identified stakeholders’ consistency in recording, analyzing, reviewing, mitigating, approving and executing the other steps in the workflow. It is important to note that these metrics do not incorporate risk criticality of the mitigated events.

Accordingly, while a higher percentage might seem better, these metrics on their own don’t mean much unless a good percentage of high-potential near-misses are addressed. The team indicated that most organizations do not include risk criticality in the reporting metrics and stop at this level. The key message of the webinar is to prioritize the events, which leads us to the next level in the operational excellence scale.

Barrier Focused metrics are at the root of the Risk Ranking approach to prioritizing events. Referencing the comparison between the driver avoiding a deer on the highway near-miss example and the workforce trailer getting too close to the isomerization process unit near-miss example described in the reporting quality blog, these metrics outline the success that can be had by distilling high-potential incidents from the broader data set. A quick read of the data highlights the critical importance of focusing on high-potential severity near-misses, analyzing their root causes, and their appropriate mitigation.

Finally, the Learning/Optimizing level speaks to one of the many metrics that collectively measures how an organization is institutionalizing the lessons learned across the enterprise and the percentage of event workflows that are audited for quality and compliance with internal processes. Detailed metrics further check for specific actions taken or not taken in terms of policy updates and announcements when events, including near-misses, occur across the organization.

While every organization or business unit is different, appropriate analysis of this information can produce excellent insights that are relevant to the analyzed unit. It allows management to ask targeted questions and to drive continuous operational excellence and improvement.

We find these initiatives to be a key step in the right direction. In addition to driving a strong risk management culture, they can serve other benefits including support for regulatory compliance. Most regulatory agencies check for serious steps taken by a regulated entity such as relevant policies, procedures, periodic training, certification, collection of metrics and reasonably timely execution of corrective actions. In the event an incident occurs, an event management framework outlined here helps make a case that shows how a company followed all reasonable steps during its daily operations.

To learn more about Risk Ranking metrics, you can watch our webinar, “Using Risk Ranking to Drive Behaviors, Efficiencies, and Insights.” You’ll be able to learn the challenges companies face with high incident management reporting rates and why Risk Ranking is an important component of a company’s incident management process. Here’s an infographic of the benchmarking results.


Andy Hosman

Andy Hosman is the vice president of Operational Risk Solutions at Sphera. He has more than 17 years of experience in designing, developing, and implementing risk management solutions to help customers assess, mitigate, manage and monitor their risk more effectively. Prior to joining Sphera, Andy was a senior vice president of product management at Marsh ClearSight with responsibility for the risk, safety and analytics product lines.

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