Some workplaces may have rules that apply only to employees who will be in the area for several hours or who will be working with specific equipment. Make sure you know all the rules that employees are expected to follow and then make sure you and your managers and supervisors follow them as well, no matter if they are visiting for a few minutes and will not be working directly with the equipment.
In addition, if you see any infraction of the rules or safe work practices, make sure that you correct it immediately. Your support on working safely will become a model for your managers, supervisors, and employees.
You must make it clear to all managers and an employee that you are in charge of making sure that your workplace is a safe. No matter what it is, taking charge of safety matter means holding all managers and supervisors accountable. In addition, it means insisting that any contract work at your site be done in a safe manner.
By holding managers, supervisors, and employees accountable, you encourage positive participation in the safety program. Managers and supervisors that are held accountable for safety are more likely to press for solutions to safety issues than to present barriers to resolution. They are more likely to suggest new ideas for hazard prevention and control. Your own participation is less likely to undermine or threatens their authority.
Make sure that all supervisors know that you understand that not every safety issue can be solved at their level. Call on your managers and supervisors to help make the employee input systems work. Think of your workplace as a team trying to identify and resolve safety infractions through whatever systems necessary. Your managers and supervisors should be team leaders, working together with you and other employees toward a common goal. You may want to recognize the teams that report hazards or suggest new control ideas. Recognition can be based on the submission of reports and suggestions or on the quality of employee input. Let your managers and supervisors know that when an employee brings a safety matter to your attention, you consider that a good reflection of the supervisor's leadership.
Encourage employees to take advantage of opportunities to become involved in problem identification, problem solving, and reporting hazard. Then, when they do become involved, make sure they get appropriate and timely feedback, including recognition for efforts.
When your management systems are working well, most safety issues will be resolved before your employees feel the need to approach you directly. Big issues may arise that the normal systems cannot handle. Your supervisors probably will understand that these problems are not a reflection on them, and that you are the proper person to address these concerns.
If your accountability system is going to work, any individual who continues to present barriers to an effective safety management system will have to be held accountable. It is important to try to separate any accountability activity from your immediate response to employee-raised questions, concerns, or suggestions.
Remember, too, that your safety systems not only encourage employee participation in identifying hazards and resolving problems, but also protect those employees from retaliatory and discriminatory actions, including reprisal. In the next sections, we will expand on all of these concepts.
Reference: Safety, INSAG Report 75-INSAG-4 - International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, 1991.
Covey, Stephen R. , The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, A Fireside Book, 1990.
James Roughton is an experienced Safety Professional and mentor to other Safety professionals on the aspects of safety. He has the following certifications, MS, CSP, CRSP, CHMM, CET, CIT, and Certified 6 Sigma Black Belt. In addition, I am an independent thinker and innovator who have varied interests. He is a Safety Professional my trade, but has broken out of the mold of safety by reaching out to others outside of the profession and sharing his other interests of developing websites, social networking, and learning about what is FREE on the internet. If you would like to learn more about safety elements and others areas of interest, please visit my web sites.