What to Do with Your Safety Goals One Year Later?

You’ve developed your first set of safety goals and worked on those for a year. 

So, now what?

Well, it’s time to do it all again, but this time you have experience to draw on to create a foundation for your next set of goals.

Remember: We are using “Year” to mean the last 12 months. Safety goal setting and review schedules don’t necessarily need to be tied to the beginning of a calendar year. Find a time of the year that works best for your team, preferably during a slower activity period when you can give this activity the attention it deserves.

Step One: Review

Start by reviewing the status and progress of last year’s goals.

Goals you haven’t started
Goals take time and continuing to work toward them is important. Don’t be discouraged if you have goals on your list that you weren’t able to get started. Set these aside for now and we will come back to them in step two.

Goals completed or in progress
You should be recognized for your accomplishments. Reward and recognition are an important part of the process that is often forgotten. Taking time to congratulate yourselves for the progress you have made will keep everyone motivated and strengthen your safety culture by demonstrating that you value safety as an organization.

Celebrate the goals you have completed in addition to the milestones you’ve completed toward the goals still in-progress. Hold a celebratory lunch, make a companywide thank you announcement, have a party, whatever fits your team best, just be sure to do something. This will strengthen your organization’s safety culture and demonstrate you value safety as a company since those are the behaviors you are recognizing.

Did you complete all of your goals?
If yes, then congratulations! However, you may need to set more challenging goals. While you don’t want to set impossible goals, you do want them to be ambitious and not too easily attainable.

Step Two: Evaluate

Ensure your goals are having the impact you expected and learn from the challenges you encountered over the last year.

Completed goals
The true measure is if meeting the goal had the intended effect. For each completed goal, ask yourself “did accomplishing the goal have the desired impact on the overall operation?”

For example, if your goal was to reduce Foreign Object Debris (FOD) incidents on the ramp and you implemented FOD disposal containers, see if the frequency of FOD reports went down. If not, the issue may need to be re-examined to find the root cause.

Goals in progress or not started
In most cases there will be goals you are still working on or haven’t even started yet. The reasoning may be as simple as you ran out of time, but you will also undoubtedly face challenges along the way.

When reviewing these goals, you will want to ask yourselves a few questions:

  • Is the goal actually still progressing and just not completed yet, or has it stalled for some reason?
  • For goals that haven’t been started yet, why haven’t they been started yet?
  • Did you encounter unexpected roadblocks that prevented you from completing or starting the goal?
  • Did you find that the goal actually wasn’t as relevant or important to your operation as you initially thought?

Step Three: Set New Goals

Carry forward old goals
First look back at your “in progress” and “not started” goals. A lot changes in 12 months, so the goals you set for last year may not be the right ones for this year. Consider whether these goals are still appropriate for your operation. If the answer is yes, then use what you learned in step 2 to adjust the goals as needed.

Select new goals
You can use last year’s goals to help you discover new goals for this year. Perhaps there is a second phase to a past goal or something you discovered that should be turned into a new goal. If you’re still looking for ideas, review your Safety Risk Profile and build new goals from identified risks. As you develop new goals, be sure to evaluate them against the SMART goals checklist as we discuss in How to Set Safety Goals.

Step Four: Create A Plan

To make your goals achievable, break them down into milestones and then individual actionable tasks. 

Decide who is responsible for each goal, milestone, and task and write it down. The person responsible for each goal should have familiarity in the subject matter that the goal relates to (for example, a maintenance-related goal should be led by an individual familiar with maintenance operations). Milestones and task responsibilities are generally delegated out to the appropriate individuals.

Once armed with your new goals, be sure to communicate them clearly and regularly to your entire team. It is important for everyone to understand the goals and the role they will play in achieving those goals.