The Problem with Reporting
Most organizations have some focus on safety, the intensity of which depends on the kind of organization (manufacturing orgs are generally less safe than an office building). So measuring and improving safety is all about establishing and measuring enabling indicators - that is to say, those behaviors and circumstances that have a pattern of leading to injuries.
Safety awareness often increases reports of safety incidences.
The Hawthorne effect describes how observation changes outcomes. In various studies, individuals being observed altered their behavior because they knew they were being observed. Other versions of this concept show up in physics as well (the observer effect), where observation (by a person or instrument) alters the behavior of a particle. In short, when we pay attention to something, we often influence its behavior by our attention.
This is also true of safety and other kinds of compliance (e.g. workplace harassment). Most organizations offer safety training and awareness campaigns as a way to reduce safety incidences and injuries (common measures of safety). However, training people about what and how to report often results in an increase in reported incidences. In this very common situation, reports of safety violations (like a spill that could cause a slip-and-fall) usually increase after safety training. The logic is pretty solid here:
All of that said, don't let the false positive of an increase in reporting keep you from measuring those enabling indicators (like the spills) because those continue to be the right predictors of a safe work environment.
Greg Brisendine is a business leader, author, playwright, and poet. His book Measuring Success: A Practical Guide to KPIs is available on Kindle, in paperback, and on Audible.