It’s important for there to be leaders in the field of safety management. These leaders change the culture in the workplace in many ways, helping to keep the employees safe while maintaining the core values of the company. They do this by interacting with their co-workers and using that time to talk about the safety topics that matter. Through interaction with these managers, employees learn how to do their jobs safely and in turn accident rates drop dramatically.
This does not happen overnight. Safety management requires a strong leader who can relate to the employees. He or she is someone that they trust who also understands the values of their employer. Any interactions with employees are opportunities for the safety leader to speak about different safety topics, but he will use his time wisely to speak about what ones matter at the current time.
Strengthening the Safety Culture
How supervisors approach opportunities directly impacts site safety. Using employee interactions to broach safety topics during work hours strengthens the safety culture in the workplace. There are a number of activities that a leader can use to speak about different safety topics with their employees:
1. Meetings. During meetings, leaders can brief employees on the latest safety procedures, equipment, and any hazards they notice. These briefs need to be interactive and engaging so that workers understand what requirements they must meet.
2. Contacts. Any communication with an employee is a great time for supervisors to focus on safety procedures that are related to the employee’s job title or the workplace as a whole.
3. Checking up on procedures. Supervisors must check up on procedures in the workplace. Sometimes employees use shortcuts to becoming more efficient, but it can be dangerous, especially if safety measures are not being met.
4. Incident response. Part of a supervisor’s job is to respond to incidents in the workplace. When he responds to an incident, he must take care of the employee, address exposures, and discover the root cause of the incident. When completed effectively, this has a positive impact on safety efforts in the workplace.
5. Identification of hazards. Supervisors must look for risks in the workplace for hazards even if all safety procedures are being met. While searching for risks, they take in account workers’ actions, the surrounding equipment, and potential exposures.
6. Housekeeping. Though it may seem arbitrary, housekeeping is a very important part of safety management. A dirty workplace can create conditions where employees could become injured. Another important effect of a clean workplace is a higher morale and productivity.
7. Proper equipment. Supervisors must make sure that employees have proper safety equipment. In addition, they also must know how to use it correctly. Regular workplace checks to make sure all safety equipment is being used offers a way for supervisors to mitigate risks before an accident.
Less Is More
Supervisors can spend their whole day preaching about safety procedures to employees, but this is not an effective way to create a safety culture. Less is often more, especially during employee interactions in the workplace. Supervisors need to strive only to discuss the safety procedures and information that is pertinent to the employee at that present time. This allows the supervisor and the employee only to discuss the most critical safety issues that affect the employee.
Safety leadership is one of the most important aspects of leadership in the workplace. Supervisors have many opportunities to speak with employees throughout the workday. When they use those opportunities also to incorporate a safety culture, the result is a safer workplace and fewer safety incidents. Outside of safety, good leadership improves job performance and employee morale, which are linked to productivity and safety.
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