When I first entered the safety profession as a safety manager for a construction company I recall my soon to be boss saying I’d be responsible for company safety practice. Well, I was up for that. I can help. But conversations with my boss and others after hire started showing some “differences” my definition of “responsible”. What I saw as my role to help guide and influence turned out to mean “I alone” was responsible for safety and everyone else just seemed to be along for the ride. What happened to employee, field supervisors and top management responsibility?
The better safety practice:
Well, fast forward 15 years: With more safety management experience, wisdom (that sometimes comes with age) I figured out safety is not a one-man operation but rather a team effort. So, I learned to increase top management, field managers and employee participation in safety. Yes, as safety manager I helped guide, track and make suggestions. BUT employees, field foreman and top management ALL play a very significant role in organizational safety practice (which translates into employee safety).
My experience and wisdom taught me to enlist the help of top management, crews and field supervisor’s aspects of safety performance in the company enjoyed good performance. In other words, the ingredients for a sound safety program consist of top management, field supervisors, crews AND the safety guy. Not just the safety guy. This concept is strongly supported by OSHA based on its research into successful safety program.
Safety success, just like a good stew, is comprised of may ingredients, each bringing to bear its own unique characteristics which as a whole make a fine dish.
After all, who’s heard of a single ingredient stew?