Successful safety programs need oversight and direction by a qualified safety manager. Safety managers use their skills and knowledge to improve workplace safety, creating programs that focus on hazards assessments, incident investigations, inspections and employee training. Since safety isn't a one-person show, safety managers also promote safety awareness and involve employees in the process.
Follow the Leader
Your job as safety manager is to lead safety efforts for your company. The boss will look to you to create safety programs with measurable goals and objectives for tracking safety performance. Tracking the number of injuries or safety violations in a department after rolling out a targeted training plan is an example of a safety program with measurable objectives. Safety managers also lead the way in safe work practices that comply with safety laws, take care of reporting and record keeping and manage relationships with regulatory agencies.
Current State of Affairs
Safety managers need to create a safety performance baseline to help determine the current state of workplace safety. To do this, conduct an initial safety audit to determine where the problem areas are. For example, you might find that one department seems to have more safety violations than others. After the initial assessment, you’ll have an idea of safety priorities. Safety managers must schedule and conduct regular audits to evaluate safety performance and identify new risks.
Sometimes workplace accidents, injuries and near misses happen. As unfortunate as these mishaps may be, employees can learn something from each incident. Safety managers launch incident investigations to uncover the facts of what happened, how it happened and how to prevent it from happening again. You'll lead a team of investigators to determine this information, prepare a written report, initiate corrective actions and share the information with all employees so they can learn from it.
Employees have to follow safety rules and procedures. The more they know about their specific safety responsibilities, the better the workplace safety performance. Safety managers communicate expectations and clarify responsibilities. They must help employees connect the dots between job duties and safety obligations. This means you'll need to give employees the right tools for success, including training on how to work safely, how to protect themselves while operating equipment or using hazardous chemicals, how to report an injury or incident and what to do in an emergency.
The Team Approach
The success of safety programs improves with employee involvement across an organization. Forming safety teams with specific goals involves employees and increases safety awareness at the same time. With the proper training and guidance, you can have teams conduct safety inspections, investigations, hazard assessments and other duties. The catch is that teams must have support, resources and the right level of authority to go along with responsibilities.
Deb Dupree has been an active writer throughout her career in the corporate world and in public service since 1982. She has written numerous corporate and educational documents including project reports, procedures and employee training programs. She has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Tennessee.