When it comes to workplace health and safety management, leaders have to be well-versed in a number of technical skills. From knowing safety controls and understanding risk management to being adept in hazard assessment and even more, the skill requirements for safety managers is vast.
Yet it’s not just technical skills that are needed — in fact, soft skills like emotional intelligence in safety environments can and do help resolve issues that no amount of technical training can ever do. Here’s what you need to know about how emotional intelligence and workplace safety go hand-in-hand.
Humans Are Emotional Beings
Human workers aren’t like the machinery or equipment on your production floor. Emotional states can make a big difference in how the average worker goes about their day, and with people often tending towards a predilection to finish their work as quickly as possible — and to even be competitive about doing so — means that working safety can often take a back seat to productivity and speed.
This is where knowledge of emotional intelligence comes in. Safety managers that have been trained to understand how people work on both an emotional level as well as a logical level realize that productivity can lead to emotional stress, which in turn can lead to a desire to work even faster. This, in turn, opens up even more opportunities for mistakes and workplace accidents — but a manager well-trained in emotional intelligence can spot these instances and take steps to rectify the situation.
Keeping Emotions In Check for Safety
Employees that are caught up in their emotions and feelings of wanting to finish their job quickly and at a high production rate jeopardize not just their own safety but the safety of others. The emotional pressures, both internal and external, of meeting daily production goals in as efficient a manner of possible can have employees skipping or neglecting safety policies and protocols because they see them as unnecessary in their goal to achieve quick and productive work.
Safety leaders need to understand this emotional process in order to relate to their workers and convince them to work slowly and safely. The most effective way to do this is to acknowledge the worker’s emotions surrounding their work productivity, discuss them, and allow the worker to see that safety is more important than productivity, no matter what they may be feeling about their own personal performance.
The Final Word on Emotional Intelligence in Safety Environments
Workers can and do learn how to manage their emotions effectively while on the clock, as long as they’re shown the way to do so. This makes providing methods for employees to grasp the concept that they can develop more emotionally healthy ways to cope with stress and keep themselves in control an important part of any safety manager’s job description. This is what it means to use emotional intelligence in safety environments.