How to Be a Successful Safety Coordinator
For most people this will not be an easy job. Managing the actions of people is a lot harder than finding physical hazards. 85% of all accidents are caused by unsafe acts of people and management failures. Careless employees are still likely to have accidents in safe conditions.
Follow these sets to reduce losses:
Be sure to set up a safety policy for the company. If you are not the one to set the rules, make sure you know what is expected and how much authority is yours to use.
Keep the top management informed. Again, if you don't call the shots, be sure you have all the backing you could want because you may very well need it. Be prepared and ready to justify every wish you expect higher authority to grant.
Thoroughly understand what your job is. Generally, it is the line supervisor's job to enforce safety rules. You are not alone in making a safety program work. Every employee is responsible for following the safety rules. Your biggest job is getting everyone to understand that.
Your job is that of a resource person. You are to discover where or when the management system fails, getting hazardous situations under control, and to help the line supervisor teach other employees about being aware of the safe way to work. Your goal should be to teach supervisors so that they can, in turn, be the forefront of safety.
A safety coordinator's job can be uncomfortable. You may have to make some unpopular decisions. Fellow employees may be alienated as you go against the mores or customs in the way things are done. This is part of the job. It is your responsibility to help others to change to better behavior. It will take skill to develop support for your actions, but it will be important that you do get that support. Keep in mind that it is important to change the behavior first, before worrying about attitudes. Attitudes will come around after everyone has become accustomed to the new way of doing things and after you have had a chance to show results.
Don't overpower people. Work with them and through them. Respect them and let them know that you do. They will respect you in return. Supervisors may think that their authority is threatened. You will solve this problem by having the full backing of top management. Know your objectives well. The objective is to reduce accidents and by that, improve efficiency. Communicate the objectives clearly!
Keep at it! Not many worthwhile tasks are easily attained. Keep plugging away. Just when you may think a problem is solved, it could pop up again. In the people business, nothing is permanent. It will be worth the effort.
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