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shanari

Difficult Parts of Being a Safety Professional
« on: September 29, 2014, 10:58:43 AM »
As a safety professional, what do you feel is the most difficult part of your job?


Shanari Baird
Training & Marketing Specialist
OSHAcademy
http://www.oshatrain.org


stevegsg

Re: Difficult Parts of Being a Safety Professional
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2014, 07:24:03 AM »
It has been my experience that most safety professionals are expected, to some degree, to be "cops" rather than consultants to management.  They're expected to "enforce" safety, and of course, they really can't do that.  This can be very frustrating to safety pros.  It is critical management understand that safety is a line responsibility, not a staff (safety department) responsibility.  Supervisors enforce safety, not safety staff.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2015, 10:10:02 AM by Chris »


shanari

Re: Difficult Parts of Being a Safety Professional
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2014, 10:22:52 AM »
Who are the best people to ensure safety protocols are being followed? Safety managers, or the managers directly responsible for hiring/firing?

Obviously, having to "enforce" safety protocols and guidelines may be looked at by employees as annoying. What are ways that managers can make following safety rules more of a positive experience rather than being negative and micromanaging things all the time?
Shanari Baird
Training & Marketing Specialist
OSHAcademy
http://www.oshatrain.org

toddsbiyj

Re: Difficult Parts of Being a Safety Professional
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2014, 02:27:18 AM »
This has potential to be a really, really, really big discussion but I will try and keep my reply simple.

First you need administration/upper management to truly commit to safety, without this, nothing else really matters at the ground level as everything filters down. Once the commitment and expectations are established and cascaded to the troops, there is generally a "breaking in period" of getting personnel familiar with the new mind-set and where you scrutinize and mentor the troops on all safety topics/violations. Once you have them on the same page as management's expectations you will eventually have to go with a zero tolerance (or similar policy) to prove to the troops that the system/culture is for real and not just another paper exercise. This is the point where it can be tricky as you will always have one or two folks that think the rules don't apply or just don't care, or whatever the reason is they just won't conform. Put your foot down NOW and make an example. It won't take long and everyone else will realize this "safety stuff" is for real. Once you have achieved this stage (or the start of a safety culture) you are concentrating on control and culture or not letting the system degrade and building a stronger safety culture.

I won’t get into how to affect these stages as everyone has different t management techniques and personalities But what I will say, first we are advisors/consultants but we have the responsibility to utilize STOP WORK AUTHORITY. If the troops simply won’t listen, get their direct line management involved immediately. Hopefully most of you guys are past the cracking down/disciplinary stage and can concentrate on building the culture rather than initiating it. Always remember - Plan your work, work your plan.

And to answer your question, yes we can be annoying and just flat-out piss a person off, but hey, is'nt that part of the job? I am not going to paint a picture of a perfect world, our job can be downright ugly sometimes but thats why we are professionals and not just some "safety person". Our jobs are to work through the rough patches and keep on going with new solution.
Just another safety guy trying to figure it out...........

shanari

Re: Difficult Parts of Being a Safety Professional
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2014, 04:18:29 PM »
You are well-rehearsed in safety, Todd. It's amazing how many hats safety professionals must wear. On the one hand, they must be very understanding and accepting of people and truly value the input of employees. On the other hand, safety professionals must also know when to push forward, not be too sensitive, and do what it takes to commit positive change within an organization. I think you put it perfectly when you said that is why we are professionals and not just some safety person.
Shanari Baird
Training & Marketing Specialist
OSHAcademy
http://www.oshatrain.org

Chris

Re: Difficult Parts of Being a Safety Professional
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2015, 10:20:01 AM »
Well said Todd.

Safety enforcement should fall under operations, and specifically to the leads, supervisors, and managers. All employees should have STOP WORK AUTHORITY when it comes to safety. People on the safety team, which should also be under the operations umbrella, should be the eyes, ears, and voice for the employees, making sure the work being performed is done safely and efficiently.

People take on the role of "safety cop" for a variety of reasons. It may be part of their job, such as a supervisor, or it may be for personal reasons. Regardless everyone should be watching out for safety so that each person can go home safe and healthy at the end of the day.

Not everybody does make it home. Check out NIOSH for some examples: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/whatsnew.html
Christopher Geigle
General Manager
OSHAcademy
www.oshatrain.org