Being in safety management is a difficult job in which not every safety manager appointed has been properly educated and trained to perform. How can an individual become a respected and effective safety manager if they do not necessarily have the background to do so? What are some good ways for individuals who have the proper education to relate and communicate with their workforce? A blog written by John Braun on slimplifiedsafety.com discusses three basic yet essential ways a safety manager can effectively manage a workforce as well as gain the respect needed in order to keep people listening.
- Know Your Limitations:
- Don’t act like you know everything, don’t make up answers and don’t ignore problems. You may have to go back and correct yourself, which may be embarrassing however more importantly you may put employee’s safety at risk which is very dangerous.
- Admit when a problem is beyond your experience and knowledge.
- Get the help of an expert. Whether you need someone to train you on specific health and safety risks that you are not familiar with or you need someone to help properly train your employees on specific safety techniques, professional training may be needed. In the long run it is much less costly to pay someone to properly train employees than to have a tragic accident or injury.
- Reinforce Good Behavior:
- When you see people working safely and using proper safety techniques verbally praise them in front of their peers as well as in front of management. Giving someone a public pat on the back may give them more confidence and more encouragement to keep up the good work than a material gift for good behavior.
- Ask higher management to also be on the look out for good practices and to publicly praise the specific employee as well. The article specifically says to ask management (if possible) to take the time to find at least one person each time they are on the floor or in the field to praise.
- Systemize Risk Assessment:
- Risk assessment must have a system and must have a formal way to do it.
- Decide specifically how you want risk assessment to run and make sure it is the same across all departments.
- Set a time to do it. Do not leave it up to chance. It might get pushed back by “something else coming up” and that could cause a dangerous situation.
- Train employees on how to properly assess the risk around them and how to document them.
Of course being a safety manager will require many, many more skills than these three. Much more education and training will be needed and the job specifics are much wider and much more difficult than what is listed here. Problems are complicated and hard decisions will have to be made yet these three basic qualities should be helpful as cornerstones and stepping stones to this difficult yet rewarding position.
Braun, John. “Three Secrets to Safety Management.” Simplifiedsafety.com, March 26, 2015, <http://simplifiedsafety.com/blog/three-secrets-to-safety-management>