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The role of a safety professional is no easy feat. The entire well-being of a company and its employees are in your hands. You’re tasked with determining the best way to prevent accidents, create a safe place to work, and get others to care about safety just as much as you do.
Not to mention, there are tons of rules and regulations that you’re expected to know and uphold.
Take a closer look at a day on the job as a safety professional – you might just find a new appreciation for your safety team.
The biggest responsibility of a safety professional is simple: keeping employees, the company, and the surrounding community safe from safety and environmental hazards. The way this is accomplished isn’t quite so black and white.
Every day holds something different for safety managers and team members. One day might start and end with the same audit, inspection, or training, while other days may be filled with a combination of incident management, reporting, safety planning, and observing.
The core responsibilities are many. Since these are the ones who oversee all safety and environmental-related activities, their duties affect employees, leadership, government regulatory agencies, and the surrounding community. These may include some or all the following:
This list is far from comprehensive. Duties will vary by company and size, especially smaller companies whose safety team may only have one or two people.
One of the biggest challenges of safety professionals, regardless of team size, is time management. Given the above sample list of regular duties, safety is easily a full-time job for multiple employees within a company, regardless of company size or industry.
With so much responsibility, getting tasks completed in a timely, impactful way can be difficult. From logging data to reporting hazards to the need to be everywhere at once, safety professionals must rely on the help of others, even if they aren’t officially part of the safety department.
Another major challenge many companies are currently experiencing is the transition from traditional paper records to digital platforms. In the past, documents and data were stored in filing cabinets. There was no easy way to compile data, collect insights, or quickly access information.
To overcome some of these challenges, many safety teams are using EHS software to streamline their day to day work. A central EHS management platform can log data on the go. It encourages self-learning by allowing employees to access necessary information (e.g. SDS, forms, important documents, checklists, data) on their own. Remote access gives teams the flexibility to use the platform for tasks even when they’re not on-site. And the digitization has made it easier than ever for safety teams to learn more about the information they collect.
The main goal of a safety professional isn’t just to avoid incidents, fines, and hazards. Every action taken by a safety department employee is to make the company a place where people want to work.
There’s no greater achievement for a safety professional than helping people care as much about safety as they do. It’s their job to help others see the impact of a safe workplace and want to participate to keep it that way.
It starts with creating a solid safety culture. This culture serves as the driving force behind every employee who prioritizes safe practices. By getting people to think of safety as something they want, not just something they need, safety managers have a better chance of creating a winning work environment for all.
Staying safe and protecting others is no walk in the park. While certain things like avoiding spills or evacuating a burning building may come naturally to some, the right course of action to take in most incidents isn’t always so obvious.
Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day for 2018 was May 9th, taking place on the Wednesday of North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week each year. These professionals have earned a reputation as being a challenging and rewarding career – make sure you show your appreciation!
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