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In order to have a great safety program, you need great leadership. You need managers that inspire employees to do better every day.
But let’s be honest: EHS management is a hard job. It requires dedication and rigorous standards. Finding the right manager is no small feat.
How do you separate mediocre managers from great ones? Here are a few things that define outstanding EHS management.
Every company has a set of rules, regulations, and protocols designed to keep workers safe. OSHA has plenty of safety regulations too. Truly good EHS managers know that safety is about more than that.
At its core, safety is about people.
You can’t give your employees a giant rulebook and expect them to comply. Even the most rule-abiding employee will have trouble with that. It has nothing to do with the rules, but rather, how employees perceive the rules and their relation to the rules.
Good safety managers take the time to teach employees about their responsibilities. They show employees that the rules are in place to keep them safe, not to punish them. They engage and educate employees to strengthen their personal safety skills.
Good managers also go beyond simply teaching employees what the rules are.
Because good managers know that safety is about people, they know that employee participation is the best way to create a strong safety culture.
When people offer suggestions, good managers listen. They know that their employees may have ideas they haven’t considered yet and that their complaints may have a basis for concern.
Good managers encourage employees to speak up and reward them for doing so. They respond to concerns, investigate safety incidents, and take the time to ensure that problems don’t recur. The best safety managers show employees that their participation is heard and valued. And that encourages employees to continue participating in safety measures.
As you could probably tell, the best workplace safety managers have to have outstanding communication skills in order to succeed.
For example, they know that rolling out a new safety program isn’t going to work. They gather employees in a safety meeting and use them as a sounding board. They listen to employee concerns, make improvements, and teach employees about the new protocols included in the program.
Of course, new safety programs aren’t the only reason to have safety meetings. Good managers know this. They know the value of regular safety meetings to hear employee concerns and address top-of-mind issues.
Finally, the best safety leaders lead by example.
People learn by watching management (more than most employees or managers care to admit). If a safety manager is careless but demands strict adherence from employees, they’re going to run into problems.
The best safety managers know that in order to get employees invested, they have to hold themselves to the same standards. They don’t excuse themselves from the rules, and they regularly self-audit to ensure that employees know what’s going on and what’s expected of them.
Building better EHS management starts at home. Your team has to be prepared to invest in safety measures and the right people to enforce them. Remember, safety isn’t a destination. It’s an ongoing learning process.
If your team is still learning and improving, check out our blog for more useful ideas to make your EHS stronger than ever. And if your team is ready to invest in the best safety tools to protect your workers and ensure compliance, check out our available software solutions today to see how we can help.
Since 2009, the team at EHS Insight have been on a mission to make the world a better place. Join us by subscribing to our Blog and receive updates on what’s new in the world of EHS, our software and other related topics.
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