Main health, safety and environment indicators

Read this article and learn everything about health, safety and environmental indicators: find out about principles, their importance and benefits.

Are you looking to foster continual improvement in the HSE (health, safety and environment) area at your company? Avoid occupational accidents? Minimize environmental impacts? Establishing health, safety and environment indicators is a crucial step to achieving HSE goals.

Getting health, safety and environmental management to work in the best possible way always means using data, metrics, statistics and indicators for support, many of which are relevant and require monitoring. In this sense, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) play an essential role.

To ensure that all HSE goals are met successfully, in this article we explain what KPIs are and why they are important, along with the main health, safety and environment indicators that you have to be on your list.

What are indicators and why are they important?

In their simplest form, indicators are measurements or quantifiable data that help you understand how your organization is performing in relation to its goals. Effective KPIs are actionable (direct decision-making is enabled by understanding them), crucial, and easily communicated across the organization.

All organizations have high-level goals or targets. Key performance indicators are both actions and measurement tools used to monitor progress in meeting these goals.

So why are indicators important? Because they act as a link between your organization and the goals it wants to reach.

Reasons to establish health, safety and environment (HSE) indicators

Effectively managing and measuring the health, safety and environment indicators can lead to countless advantages for your company, including the following, which are worth mentioning:

  • Fewer accidents and less time off due to occupational diseases;
  • Improved employee engagement;
  • Reduced consumption of water, energy and more;
  • Containment of environmental disasters;
  • Improved waste management;
  • Preservation of the standards required by related regulations;
  • Fewer penalties and nonconformances.

Main health, safety and environment indicators

Health and safety indicators

Health and safety indicators can be split into two groups:

Reactive indicators (lagging)

These are based on events that have already occurred and can’t be reversed, which is why they are commonly described as “lagging.” They are a retroactive window into the company’s performance, or rather, in the last month, semester or year.


  • Lost time injury rate
  • Severity rate
  • Near misses

Proactive indicators (leading)

Also known as preventive indicators, these are not focused on past events, but on measures that can be implemented to prevent future safety incidents.


  • Number of safety inspections done
  • Occupational accident prevention training sessions
  • Number of preventive maintenance events carried out

Environmental indicators

According to ISO 14031, there are three basic types of environmental performance indicators:

Managerial performance indicators

These supply information on managerial efforts to influence the organization’s environmental performance.


  • Percentage of environmental targets reached
  • Environmental costs with penalties for environmental damages (nonconformances)
  • Employee training budget for related topics
  • Environmental incident response time

Operational performance indicator

This provides information on the environmental performance of the organization’s operations.


  • Energy consumed per unit of product
  • Water consumed per unit of product
  • Management of waste or effluents per month/year
  • Emission of atmospheric pollutants per month/year

Environmental condition indicator

This contains information on the local, regional, national or global condition of the environment.


  • Concentration of contaminants in the water of a nearby river
  • Fish deaths over time for a specific watercourse

Now that you know everything about health, safety and environmental indicators, learn about SoftExpert Performance, corporate software for managing performance indicators.

This tool goes beyond simply measuring indicators, enabling robust and intelligent management of business performance.

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    Bruna Borsalli


    Bruna Borsalli

    Business Analyst at SoftExpert Software, holds a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from Univille. Experienced in EHS (Environment, Health and Safety) and a Quality Management specialist as well as a certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt and Internal Auditor for ISO 9001 | 14001 | 45001 Integrated Management Systems.

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