The success of safety professionals is often judged by their interactions with the teams and field workers they support. Safety leaders are often referred to as safety managers, supervisors or EHS specialists. However, titles don’t make a person a successful safety professional – anyone, in any type of role, can be a leader and fight for the safety of the people they work with.
We’ve developed a list of the 5 qualities that Safety Reports clients have shown make them excellent safety professionals.
Those who are observant catch hazards before an incident or injury occurs. Noticing what everyone else misses is key to getting ahead of safety hazards.
Effective safety leaders are proactive and alert. They’ve prepared ahead of time, and scope out possible safety issues and unsafe areas or conditions before allowing their teams to start work. Checking once isn’t enough for them. Every time successful safety leaders enter a job site or work area, they check for new potential threats and document observations appropriately or make their safety supervisors aware of the risk.
The ability to express safety concerns and explain safety procedures is vital to every job site. The best safety professionals are capable of explaining both for all to understand.
The most effective safety leaders are empathic communicators that genuinely believe the personal opinions of others are important and necessary to get the best result. They tend to rely on proactive and action-oriented conversations and offer realistic expectations.
Safety leaders do more than express their own concerns well – they listen to others actively for emotion and content. They don’t quickly dismiss or get defensive.
Keeping up with safety standards and always being one step ahead of the problem will make sure all employees stay safe and out of harm’s way.
Safety leaders know the job. They learn the work. They never stop learning. Rules and regulations change quickly and often because new methods of work are being created all the time. A good safety professional interacts with field crews to understand where safety is most important.
Making the hard decisions is paramount in the safety industry. Some of the hardest choices are not the ones wanted, but the ones needed.
The best safety professionals and leaders don’t become enablers of unsafe behavior. They refuse to ignore problems that put anyone at risk and communicate openly to correct them before anyone is harmed. They’re fair, firm and respectful. Their teams and employees know the safety leader has their back and won’t compromise when safety is on the line.
In order to be the best, a leader must possess the 4 qualities above: must be observant, a good communicator, knowledgeable and must have integrity to be considered a good leader.
A leader knows they are not able to create a strong culture of safety alone. These 5 qualities show employees and others that you are a caring, passionate professional willing to build relationships where feedback is accepted and valued.
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