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Safety Challenges & Risks
How to Be a Good Safety Manager in the Workplace
As a Safety Manager, you play a critical role in your company’s daily operations. Your team depends on you to create and execute policies that will keep them safe while at work. On the other hand, upper management relies on you to implement safety policies that will cut bottom line costs and drive productivity. These ongoing responsibilities of a safety manager require you to constantly seek ways to hone your skills to become a more effective safety leader.
If you’re asking yourself, “How do I become a safety manager in my workplace,” then read ahead for 5 habits that you can adopt to help you boost your impact at work and become a better workplace Safety Manager.
Take a Proactive Approach to Safety
As a Safety Manager, you’re responsible for planning, implementing and overseeing employee safety while at work. While this responsibility of a workplace safety manager can be overwhelming at times, effective managers combat this pressure by establishing proactive safety measures. Proactive safety manager protocols allow you to focus on performance evaluation improving initiatives that minimize risky situations rather than reacting once an accident has occurred.
Proactive measures that can be taken include regular assessments of the work environment to identify potential hazards or proper safety education and training for each employee. Tasks like these can seem tedious or mundane, but completing these tasks before an incident happens can save your company a significant amount of time and money. According to a safety performance report by the Associated Builders and Contractors, proactive measures can boost jobsite safety by 670%.
Although a proactive approach cannot guarantee that an accident will never happen, being prepared and thinking ahead makes handling incidents much more manageable if one should occur.
Encourage Employee Participation
Employees have a major role in maintaining a safe workplace. Therefore, employee participation is a key factor in an effective safety program.. After all, employees are tasked daily with potentially dangerous activities such as operating heavy machinery, handling hazardous materials and navigating slippery work floors. The successful execution of tasks like these requires your team to be properly trained, cautious and alert to avoid accidents.
As a Safety Manager, it’s your responsibility to create a strong safety culture in which safety is both valued and prioritized throughout the entire organization. When a strong safety culture is established, it becomes easier to help employees understand their role in safety and to engage them in your program. According to a study by management consulting company, Gallup, companies with engaged employees have about 70% fewer accidents than other companies. Essentially, this implies that a lack of employee engagement can cost you.
One way to create a strong safety culture is to create an environment in which employees are motivated and comfortable speaking up and sharing constructive feedback about workplace safety. This will convey the message that your employees matter – and when they feel valued performance and productivity are positively impacted.
Review Your Safety Policy Often
Because working to reduce accidents and improve workplace safety is an ongoing process, a Safety Manager’s job is never done. Although there is no standard time set for when your policy review must be completed, a minimum of at least once or twice a year is recommended. You must continuously review and refresh your existing safety policy to account for factors such as updated laws and regulations, new rules for operating company equipment or changes in the business. By performing a regular review of your policy, you can more effectively determine the areas within your safety program that need updating/improving. Then, you can make the necessary updates to the policy to achieve your safety goals.
Encourage Leadership to Set the Standard
Safety protocols and procedures should be enforced and prioritized throughout the entire organization – not just for employees working directly on the floor. All managers and members of the executive leadership team must also be ambassadors for safety both on and off the clock. In fact, most employee’s actions and feelings towards workplace safety are modeled after that of their leadership team. Therefore, if your company’s leaders aren’t concerned about safety, chances are the rest of the team won’t be either.
As a Safety Manager, you should encourage each team member in a leadership position to “set the standard” when it comes to workplace safety. You can do this by providing ongoing trainings solely for management-level teammates designed to teach them how to be advocates for safety. Additionally, you can encourage them to speak up and report any misconduct or potentially hazardous objects on the work floor. The support of your company’s leadership team is sure to draw the attention of other employees, helping you boost your safety program’s participation.
Maintain Knowledge of Rules and Regulations
In the world of safety, rules and regulations are everchanging. Regardless of whether the updates are minor or major, Safety Managers must remain educated and up to date on current laws. If not, you could overlook an important rule that applies to your company. One missed update could cause your company to be non-compliant, which could lead to serious costs. A penalty for non-compliance can result in fines of up to $13,260 for serious violations and $13,260 per day for “failure to abate” violations. Additionally, repeat violations could cost up to $132,598.
Here are some ways to stay educated on rules and regulations:
- Keep an eye out for the release of the bi-annual Federal Register
- Subscribe to safety blogs and newsletters
- Visit the websites of regulatory agencies
- Attend seminars or conferences
Each of these methods are convenient and can help you ensure that no important changes are missed. When you are knowledgeable about what’s happening within the industry, you can better protect your team and save your company time and money.
Improving your skills is important for creating a safer work environment. By implementing these five habits, you become a more impactful safety leader for your team.
Want to know more about how to become a safety manager that is more effective? Download the Safety Solutions guide to learn how a Corporate Footwear Program can help you.