Special Challenges if Safety Is an Added Responsibility
It’s always tricky to do a tough job like safety management as a part-time responsibility. You may have to devote some attention to drawing boundaries and setting policies that help you to keep control of your time. Here are some suggestions.
- Spread the load. When safety is a secondary responsibility, you must guard against anyone thinking you can do a full-time job of it. You need to work hard to clarify responsibilities, and to make sure that manager and department heads do their share of the safety work.
- Rely on your safety committee. Your committee can do much to manage the safety program. Take advantage of the safety committee. Make sure it meets regularly and often. Have the other members involved directly in safety management. For example, have each member agree to take a turn doing the monthly audits–don’t you try to do every audit every month. Members can also be involved in training, accident investigations, and so on.
- Bring others into the safety business. Perhaps the managers will each take a turn walking through another manager’s department. Develop detailed policies and procedures. Make sure that everyone knows what their responsibilities are.
- Use outside resources. Perhaps you will purchase training videos, or hire outside consultants for some safety tasks. Maybe local fire and police can help with disaster preparations or emergency training.
Check out the You as a Safety Professional section of BLR’s Safety Daily Advisor. These articles and tips will clue you in on certification, career training, and peer group involvement in major safety organizations.
What Is Your Role as a Safety Manager?
Of course, every worksite is different, with different hazards and different challenges. But most safety managers are involved with the following:
Be an advocate for safety
- Get management backing and participation
- Develop general safety policies
- Clarify responsibilities
- Create a safety focus
Identify and control hazards
- Assess workplace hazards
- Take steps to eliminate them
Develop and deliver safety training
- Orient new employees
- Provide new and review training
- Train for new equipment and new processes
Motivate safe behavior
- Implement incentive programs
- Discipline when necessary
Perform special safety responsibilities
- Support the safety committee
- Perform accident reporting and investigation
- Manage workers’ compensation
Sounds like a lot, right? See tomorrow’s Advisor to for tips on managing these responsibilities so you don’t get spread too thin.