Process safety indicators, a review of literature

Paul Swuste, Jos Theunissen, P. Schmitz, Genserik Reniers, Peter Blokland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Indicators for process safety can provide insight into safety levels of a process or of a company, but it is clear that the 'silver bullet' has not yet been identified. In secondary literature a difference is made between leading and lagging safety indicators. Primary literature questions this distinction, as well as the quantification of safety indicators. Safety Indicators for management and organisation have an ambiguous relationship with latent errors and conditions, being mentioned over and over in retrospective safety analyses of major accidents. Indicators for occupational safety do not necessarily have a relationship with process safety. In addition, it can be expected that regulators of major hazard companies will ask to identify and implement both lagging and leading indicators, and anchor these indicators in a safety management system. Therefore, the subject ‘safety indicators’ will remain in the spotlight, at least in the time to come.


  • Process safety indicator
  • Safety metaphor
  • Model
  • Theory
  • Management factor
  • Occupational safety
  • Process safety

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