Applying the Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) Metric to Safety
As a public safety regulator in Canada’s largest province responsible for enforcing safety rules across a number of sectors including fuels, elevators and boilers and pressure vessels, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority is required to report its effectiveness in ensuring public safety to the Government of Ontario and the broader public. However, traditional metrics for assessing public safety such as injuries, fatalities and incidents used by most safety regulators provide crude measures for public safety. For example, changes in the number of injuries, fatalities and incidents year over year make it difficult to assess whether the state of safety is improving or worsening unless all indicators are moving in the same direction in the same quantum. In other words, it’s difficult to know whether 1 fatality and 10 injuries is better or worse than 0 fatalities and 20 injuries.
To address this challenge and to enhance transparency and accountability and in particular to support evidence-based decision-making, Srikanth Mangalam led the development of the Annual State of Public Safety Performance Report in his capacity as the Director of Public Safety Risk Management and Chief Risk Advisor with the Technical Standards and Safety Authority, the public safety regulator in Canada’s largest jurisdiction. The report introduced the Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) metric to the safety sector for the first time, an innovative application of a health metric to measure safety outcomes.
The DALY, a universal health metric introduced by the World Health Organization, blends injuries and fatalities into a single measure to quantify health impacts. Thus, yearly fluctuations in those indicators can be consistently compared and measured to accurately report on the state of safety. Most importantly, accurate performance reporting allows policymakers to assess the effectiveness of legislation, regulations, standards and codes in order to ensure right-touch regulatory measures are developed and implemented based on evidence. The Annual State of Public Safety Performance Report now serves as a critical planning and management and reporting tool to deploy the organization’s resources most effectively and to report on the organization’s performance as a safety regulator.