Well-designed road safety measures are of little use until they become part of every-day operations. In the PLAN stage, you went to considerable work to design measures to reduce exposure to particular risks. Before you try to evaluate whether those measures were successful, it is first necessary to see if things were done as planned.
For example, let's say the plan was to implement a procedure to inspect work vehicles each day they are used for work. During your review of vehicle inspection records, you notice that inspections occurred as planned for the first four or five months, but as summer came and vehicle use was less regular, inspection frequency fell off significantly. Outwardly, there's still a vehicle inspection process, but it's not being implemented as planned (nor is it compliant). Similarly, if half of the drivers missed the training about vehicle reversing practices, it's not fair to evaluate the reversing incident results based on an incorrect premise that all drivers attended that training.
Even though measures might not have been implemented exactly as planned, it does not mean that the targets, actions or analysis become invalid. Instead, it is important to interpret outcomes in the context of how measures were actually applied. At times, the plan and targets need to be adjusted because they were founded on incorrect or incomplete information. Because workplaces are dynamic, it is necessary for daily practices to keep pace with changing circumstances. Adapting to those changes is the right thing to do, but the organization needs to keep track of adjustments so you can properly evaluate outcomes.
There are several ways to verify implementation.
- Review documents - Have a look at the records (forms, reports) produced. Do they match what you expected to see? Do they confirm the procedure or measure was put into action as intended in the plan?
- Talk to employees - If, for example, the focus is vehicle inspections, have a few employees explain how often they inspect their vehicle, and how they do it. Does that match the plan?
- Check with supervisors - Ask supervisors to provide a list of who attended the driver training program, how many driver assessments they completed, how they did them, and other sorts of questions.
- Conduct an audit - Whether the audit is done by an internal or external auditor, it's really just a more rigorous version of the above three actions. However, audits such as those in the Certificate of Recognition program use a recognized framework that yields verifiable, defensible results.