As OSHA defense attorneys, we know the importance of safety management leaders. They change the culture of the workplace in many ways, helping to keep employees safe while maintaining the core values of the company. However, managing employees is not always easy. Safety management requires a strong leader who relates well to others, understands company values, and is trustworthy. In this three-part article, we will provide several tips to help you lead your company’s safety initiates successfully. This article will focus on engaging with employees and setting the right example. Part two will focus on holding toolbox talks and quickly responding to issues, and part three will conclude our series.
Engage With Employees
Engaging with other employees entails different things. Safety managers must know how to communicate with senior managers, contractors, workers, and colleagues. Knowing the names of employees is essential.
Engaging with employees involves listening to suggestions, complaints, and concerns. It means praising and rewarding employees for choosing safe behavior. It involves investing in people by being a resource and a motivator. Engaging with employees also means making yourself visible, open, and available. Be open and transparent by letting them know when you are doing anything that could affect them (e.g., changing procedures, monitoring productivity).
Set the Right Example
Everyone is looking to you to set the tone for safety initiatives. People learn by watching, and it’s a guarantee that your behavior will be observed by others when you are in a position of leadership. Great safety leaders are mindful of their attitude and avoid letting their guard down. Setting the right example is critical to your success. Always comply with every rule and procedure. Practice the following daily:
Know the rules. Can you explain to each worker what his or her responsibilities are? If you don’t know the rules, you can’t expect your employees to understand them. If they don’t understand them, how can they follow them? If you don’t know them, how can you implement them?
Follow the rules. As you lead your team, you must properly model safety at all times. Also, when safety rules are introduced or modified, place the emphasis on safety instead of presenting a daunting list of rules to check off. You will get more buy-in when you focus on everyone’s well-being instead of being a taskmaster.
Enforce the rules. Use social skills when conveying rules to employees at different levels. Persuade your peers and ask upper management to support your enforcement of the rules. The way you navigate rule enforcement will determine whether you gain everyone’s cooperation.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.