A Safety Management Approach

Bob Lapidus, CSP, CSMS

Over the years, I’ve told my students in Safety Center safety management classes that managers either have a heart for safety or they do not. I have also admitted that if a manager does not have a heart for safety, I (as a safety advisor) have never been able to change his or her closed heart.

The only thing I have ever seen change a manager’s heart from turning away from safety to turning toward safety is a fatality or severe injury to an employee who the manager cares about. Did you get that?

That is an awful thing to say, but that is my real life experience.

Why do some managers and first-line supervisors not have a heart for safety?

I believe it is because they have never worked in an environment where safety was important, where ensuring that all tasks are performed efficiently, productively, and safely is integral to performing all work.

In many organizations, employees are expected to do their tasks without benefit of initial and ongoing training, without continual observation of their behavior, without any follow up to ensure their performance is right and good.

That is an awful thing to say too, but it’s the truth.

What does a work environment look like that is filled with a heart for safety?

It begins with top management’s commitment and follow through to ensure everything is done right, the first time. To achieve that level of perfection, all employees throughout the organization are carefully hired to fit the job they are going to fulfill. They receive initial and continuing training on how to do their work correctly, efficiently, productively, and safely. Their work is observed and reviewed. When they do what is wanted, they are recognized. When they fail to work as is desired, they are corrected.

The right equipment is purchased and maintained. Good housekeeping is sustained. Order is the daily state of how things are done.

Management writes policies and procedures to reflect what is wanted and such documents are regularly enhanced to improve the quality of the work performed.

High employee morale is sought. Management seeks to make the work environment a positive atmosphere. No negative concern is left to fester. All issues are dealt with and improved upon.

To create such a great work environment, all employees are involved. Their thoughts and suggestions are an important part of building a successful organization, an enterprise that is well managed and has a heart for doing what is proper and worthy.

For More Information
To become part of discussion on topics like the one above, go to www.safetycenter.org to obtain information about Safety Center’s Safety Management Specialist Certificate.

After completing this nine-day program, graduates may take the exam to achieve the Certified Safety Management Specialist (CSMS) designation.  Recipients of the CSMS receive a beautiful plaque and become part of an elite group of safety specialists who have achieved this recognition.  Once this certification is attained, successful candidates keep it for the rest of their lives without any additional requirements or fees.

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