The OPM (Organizational Performance Metric) safety survey was chosen due to its simplicity. I always remember a photographer saying the best camera he had was the one that got the shot. Similarly, a survey could be a mile long and uncover tons of interesting information yet, if almost no one is willing to take it, it will fail. The OPM safety survey couldn’t be simpler.
Background of the OPM safety survey
The OPM safety survey was developed by Dr. Ben Amick, in collaboration with Ontario’s health and safety associations while working together to determine leading indicators of health and safety. The OPM survey is an established method that is short and simple enough to get more participants. Industry standards were already set for the OPM safety survey as records of questions collected from Ontario firms from 2011-2013 provided needed benchmarking.
In the past, the OPM survey has been used in other jurisdictions (completed by thousands of organizations) and therefore has comparative sets of data to work with, delivering immediate value to the users, rather than years later after many annual surveys and analysis.
Our modified OPM safety survey
Our version of the OPM survey has eight questions in total, with short additional questions at the end. Participants were asked to go in and rank each safety practice, with 0% being the lowest score (least practiced) and 100% being the highest score (practiced everyday). The additional questions provided insights about each individual’s role within the organization, and the number of employees within the organization, etc. The individuals’ answers remain anonymous. The OPM safety survey is conducted multiple times to track and measure an organization’s safety culture.
Research behind the OPM safety survey
The Ontario Leading Indicators Project reveals that OPM scores are predictive of injury rates over the next three years and that those that score higher on the survey were associated with a lower risk of claims, while those that scored lower, were associated with a higher risk of claims.
At the company level, the OPM survey can provide insights into the strengths and weaknesses of an organization. Repeated implementation of the OPM survey can measure the input that companies are making to improve safety, and its outcomes, whether they are effective or not. The OPM survey can inspire a positive culture towards improving safety.
In Saskatchewan, the “SK Leadership Charter Project” explored how top organizational leaders impact safety, concluding that executive leadership has a positive impact on safety, mainly through a “trickle-down” process. – flowing from CEOs, to executives, and to frontline employees. Analysis also shows that a stronger commitment made to safety at the executive level will enhance broader performance benefits such as:
- A more engaged workforce
- Lower employee turnover intentions (and potential savings related to hiring, training, & lost productivity)
- Potentially higher organizational performance
At the industry level, the OPM survey can strengthen accountability for practicing safety measures, as well as gauge the connection between policies, procedures, and activities to achieve better safety outcomes.
The next blog of our OPM series reveals our methodology and implementation of the OPM survey in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association (SCSA)! Follow us on Twitter, and LinkedIn to see our latest updates!
We will also be administering the second round of the OPM safety survey in April 2022 to SCSA members!
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