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performance indicators

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Environmental Performance Indicators provide organizations with a tool for measuring, evaluating and controlling their performance. These quantifiable metrics reflect the performance of an organization in the context of achieving its environmental goals and objectives.

They are also useful in illustrating environmental improvements, identifying market opportunities, providing essential data for environmental reports and statements, providing feedback to motivate members of the organization and to support the implementation of the ISO 14001 standard.

However, not all performance indicators are useful to every organization. These must be identified and measured considering the nature and context of the organization and its specific targets and goals.

Even though there’s not a set of performance indicators that is right for every ISO 14001 management system, there are performance indicators that can be commonly seen in many environmental performance indicator reports. Some of these are:

Operational Performance Indicators

These measure environmental impact caused by an organization’s main activities.

Emissions to air

  • Greenhouse Gases
  • Acid Rain
  • Eutrophication and Smog Precursors
  • Dust and Particles
  • Ozone Depleting Substances
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Metal emissions to air Emissions to water
  • Nutrients and Organic Pollutants
  • Metal emissions to water

Emissions to land

  • Pesticides and Fertilisers
  • Metal emissions to land
  • Acids and Organic Pollutants
  • Waste (Landfill, Incinerated and Recycled)
  • Radioactive Waste

Resource use

  • Water Use and Abstraction
  • Energy use (Natural Gas, Oil, Coal, other)
  • Minerals
  • Aggregates
  • Forestry

Environmental Management Performance Indicators

These reflect organizational actions management is taking to minimize their environmental impact. These indicators serve as internal control measures and information, but do not provide valid information on the real environmental performance of an organization. These performance indicators should not be used exclusively for the evaluation of environmental performance, but as a support in evaluating the actions taken within the environmental management system. Some of these are:

  • Number of sites that have environmental management systems
  • Number of ISO14001 certification
  • Number of training sessions regarding environmental preservation and of people attended
  • Number of environmental audits by kinds (internal and external environmental audits)

Every organization is different and each one needs to carefully examine which environmental performance indicator suits it best. These indicators should summarize extensive environmental data to a limited number of significant key information points and ensure rapid assessment of the organization’s main improvements and weaknesses in environmental protection. This information should be comparable from year to year or period to period, allowing unfavorable trends to be quickly detected in order for timely actions to be taken to correct and improve the organisation’s environmental performance.

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measuring safety

Performance indicators for an Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) management system are an important tool used by organizations to measure the effectiveness of their programs in reducing potential and actual OH&S risks. These performance indicators also provide information for organizations to:

  • Evaluate their OH&S management system.
  • Identify improvement opportunities.
  • Adapt objectives, goals and strategies.
  • Raise awareness among decision-makers and everyone in an organization about the benefits of OH&S programs.
  • Take timely preventive measures.
  • Communicate ideas, thoughts and values.

Performance indicators should be specific, easy to obtain, consistent over time, accurate and transparent in order to serve as a valuable tool in improving an organization’s OH&S performance. There are no fixed performance indicators that must be used by all organizations; however, below, a number of typical performance indicators of an OHSAS 18001 management system are mentioned.

Performance indicators for OHSAS 18001 communication and leadership management:

  • Percentage of management planned visits to the job site carried out on a specific time frame.
  • Degree of management commitment, measured through surveys in the workplace.
  • Percentage of planned formal reviews of the OH&S management system programs conducted over a period of time.
  • The percentage of training activities carried out vs. those that were planned.
  • The percentage of investigations of accidents / incidents / nonconformities completed vs. those that were required.

Performance indicators for measurements of the effects of accidental losses:

  • Number of accidents.
  • Number of days lost to illness.
  • Number of days lost due to accidents.
  • Percentage of workers with occupational diseases.

Performance indicators for basic and immediate causes of accidents:

  • Percentage of accidents caused by getting trapped.
  • Percentage of accidents caused by strokes.
  • Percentage of accidents caused by cuts.
  • Percentage of accidents caused by falls.

Performance indicators for OH&S resources management:

  • Level of funding provided to the OH&S programs as a percentage of operational funding.
  • Percentage of purchase orders with specific OH&S requirements.
  • OH&S approved budget against the actual budget spent.

Every organization is different and each should take the necessary time to define the performance indicators that will serve as tools in improving their OH&S management system; ones that will help management make sound decisions to maintain, improve and innovate their processes and keep their workers and everyone involved in their activities safe.

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ISO 20000

Every organization is different and even though an ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) is directed to achieve and increase customer satisfaction, its design and implementation is influenced by the different needs and objectives of an organization.

In order to meet and improve customer satisfaction it’s essential to monitor and measure performance by using different indicators. Performance indicators are tools used for determining how and to what degree an organization is meeting guidelines, policies, objectives, requirements and targets set in their ISO 9001 QMS.

These performance indicators are set by the organization and they vary from one organization to another. Each organization must decide which performance indicators are more suitable to the nature of their industry sector and their objectives.

What should be considered is that these indicators must be measurable and achievable. They must refer to the system’s critical processes, they must accurately represent the target to be measured, and they should be quantifiable, cost-effective, reliable and allow management to know the information in real time.

Below, the critical areas to be measured and some examples of indicators are mentioned.

Cost Indicators

These are performance indicators that evaluate the activities that consume economic resources in different processes.

  • Percentage costs spent on energy consumption.
  • Percentage return on investment.
  • Percentage cost of carrying out reworking or correcting errors.

Time Indicators

These performance indicators measure the time consumed in an activity or process and considers the time from the beginning to the end of the selected process or activity. For example:

  • Percentage number of products or services delivered on time.
  • Percentage number of products or services delivered late.

Productivity Indicators

These performance indicators measure the efficiency of resources in the operation. Some of these could be:

  • Percentage machine/equipment utilization.
  • Percentage of downtime.

Quality Indicators

These performance indicators calculate the effectiveness in the development of activities or processes, delivering results based on the number of errors, number of perfect and flawless deliveries. An example is:

  • Percentage number of products or services needing rework.
  • Percentage of customers ‘very satisfied’.

As mentioned above, these indicators may vary; the important thing to keep in mind is that they should serve as a tool for improving the quality of decisions regarding the processes and the ISO 9001 QMS itself.