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Safety management and safety leadership are not one and the same. Safety management is something that you’re used to already: enforcing policies, handing out PPE, and making sure your company is up to code. Safety leadership, according to research, is something that focuses on the needs of employees by talking, listening, and getting to know the pains and hard points for employees.


Safety leaders can help with the overall goal of achieving safety, while safety managers will carry out the actions needed to be taken. Sidney Dekker (founder of the Safety Science Innovation Lab) explains the difference as this: Safety managers manage people. Safety leaders lead people.


It is not just up to the people who have safety in their job title to promote, train, and encourage safety in the workplace. Involving those in upper management is crucial to improving and creating a safety culture. Getting your CEO or founders on board can help increase employee engagement, workplace morale, and even reduce injury due to the improved safety culture.


Did you know that companies striving for successful leadership involvement in their safety programs can cut injury occurrence by almost half? A recent study showed that 50% of injuries occur due to poor leadership. An OSHA-sponsored study has estimated that nearly $2 billion is lost every year due to injured employees.


In this ebook we will be talking about:


  • Myths About Safety Leadership And Involving Management In Safety
  • Ways To Strengthen Your Safety Leadership & Involve Your CEO
  • Do You Have The Qualities Of A Good Safety Leader?
  • Merging Your Safety Leadership Approach With Your CEO
  • 4 Simple Ways You Can Grow As A Safety Leader Today
  • 3 Communication Tips For Safety Leaders


Myths About Safety Leadership And Involving Management In Safety

Myth #1: Safety professionals and management have all the answers.


No one can know everything! Even within the past few years, the standard for training has changed—a ton. In fact, many companies are using online or mobile training to increase efficiency. Using these methods will make it easier to implement reward programs for your training. Research tells us that when rewards are offered for completing objectives, it makes training similar to a game and is one of the most effective ways to teach people because they’re more likely to get involved. This is especially popular with millennials!


To stay up-to-date on this kind of research about online training and rewards, try subscribing to a blog about safety culture and employee engagement. The knowledge you learn will take your safety program to the next level.


Myth #2: Safety leaders are the people on top that give orders.


Although this can happen with some companies, you don’t want it happening to yours! Make sure to collaborate with your CEO, other managers, and employees so that your safety goals align with the company’s plans and needs. Having everyone on board is crucial for implementing a successful safety program and culture.


Don’t forget, some of your best safety advocates are probably working right now in the field.


Myth #3: Safety leaders work alone.


Safety leaders can’t work alone. If they did, they would have no one to lead! Working directly with your employees and coaching them to align with similar safety goals is a crucial factor of excellent safety leadership.


Creating a successful safety program and culture requires help from all departments involved, including upper and lower management. Safety is for sure a team effort.

4 Ways To Strengthen Your Safety Leadership And Involve Your CEO

Did you know that every $1 spent on safety can be a $3–$6 return on investment (source)?


Growing and honing in on our safety and leadership skills are crucial for the safety trainer and the CEO. In this section, we’ll highlight a few ways to boost some critical practices in strengthening your leadership qualities and why you should involve your CEO in the planning process.


Tip #1: Get out in the field.


Join ʼem! When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? When on a job site, do the tasks and jobs that the site workers do! The effort of getting involved will lead you to get a deeper understanding of what your employees do. This shows that you, too, know the safety rules, regulations, and tasks that are required of them on a daily basis.


Being in the field will also show your employees that their concerns are heard and taken seriously.


Tip #2: Keep driving the message.


Reiteration is key. To strengthen training, work to deliver content through multiple platforms, at multiple times, and from someone they know. Including a personalized video or audio message from your CEO could help employees grasp the importance of what needs to be done and, possibly, help them engage and retain more information for longer.


Tip #3: Synchronize goals with what’s available.


It’s important to create and align goals with company budget. As the person responsible for training, it is up to you to figure out not only what training needs to be done and how much it will cost to implement, but also what needs to be done first. From here you can—and should—collaborate with your CEO to figure out what is in the budget to accomplish this month, next quarter, and what needs to be pushed to next year.


Try highlighting cost benefits, like the fact that $1,390,000 can be saved for every occupational fatality that is avoided (source). Having to explain the initial cost doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?


Tip #4: Actively seek feedback.


Feedback is a necessary tool for improvement in any program. Without feedback, safety leaders don’t know whether their efforts or methods are working. Look to employees for feedback to understand what works best for them. Look to your CEO for input as to whether they feel your ideas work with what they had in mind.

Do You Have The Qualities Of A Good Safety Leader?

Can you motivate, and be motivated by, others?


Motivation is one quality that all great safety leaders have. If you are thinking, “ehhh I don’t really have the power to motivate my team…” Throw this thought in the trash because you do!


You can motivate and inspire your employees by setting a good example. Employees also want to see how you react to difficult situations and making tough decisions. As a safety leader, show some positivity, keep your cool, and show that you can efficiently move forward (source). Doing these three things every day will motivate and inspire your team because they know they have a great leader to follow.


Who is held accountable?


When things go wrong—as we know that they will—we can’t let this throw us off our game. We have to stay focused on resolving safety issues and remember that we all make mistakes. A great safety leader will be focused on solving the right part of a problem or situation. The ability to see past who is to blame will allow you to not only be a great leader but to focus on what really matters. Although you will be holding your employees accountable so that they take their job seriously, let it be known that you hold yourself accountable first (source).


Do you have good decision-making capabilities?


All good safety leaders have fantastic decision-making skills. You will have to make important decisions that will affect the everyday lives of your employees. We are giving you a few ways you can sharpen your decision-making capabilities.


You should:

  • Make decisions with not only the present in mind but with focus set on the future.
  • Trust yourself and show confidence in your decisions. If you believe them, your employees will too.
  • Be adaptive! Safety standards and guidelines are always changing so we need to change our ideas with them.
  • Recognize and make decisions based on patterns and hindrances.
  • Always weigh the outcomes. There is nothing wrong with a good ol’ pros and cons list.

Merging Your Safety Leadership Approach With Your CEO

One leadership style isn’t going to reach everyone. Try starting by figuring out a little bit more about yourself. Our office took the 16 personalities test to learn more about our own thoughts and learning styles. Once you understand what makes up your management team—including your C-Suite—figuring out the right training method will be easier.


There are multiple approaches to training and leadership. Below are a few that you might want to consider. The best part: you don’t need to focus on one method. Now that you know the personalities of your management team, you can divide and conquer your safety program like a pro.


The Go-To Guide For Improving Safety Leadership And Involving Management (1)

To learn more about the different safety approaches click here.


Checklist For Implementing Successful Safety Programs In The Workplace

Try a checklist similar to this to make sure you’re implementing strategies that aren’t negating your efforts for a safe workplace (source).

  • Does everyone know what they’re doing?
  • Does everyone feel that their opinion matters?
  • Do your employees believe and listen to the things you say?
  • Are you asking too much?
  • Do employees feel they can report an incident truthfully? Or at all?
  • Are any issues being avoided?
  • Did you include your CEO in all steps of planning?

4 Simple Ways You Can Grow As A Safety Leader Today

How To Grow In Your Safety Leadership Role

Who says there isn’t room for more growth? Great safety leaders strive to build themselves up and climb the ladder of success whenever possible. Try following these four methods to improve your advancement in your safety leadership role.


  1. Try working with a mentor. This will allow you to gain experience and knowledge from veteran employees. They can even help you learn faster from their successes and failures.
  2. Attend safety webinars to expand your knowledge based on what you don’t know and a little of what you already do. When possible, attend local safety conferences or seminars to participate in one-on-one learning.
  3. Join a safety association or council. Doing this will give you access to safety knowledge/information from fellow safety professionals. This will also provide the opportunity for you to reach out to the safety community and grow your safety network.
  4. Read case studies. Why learn from your own mistakes when someone else might have made the mistake before you? Researching all the ways something can fail will help you be proactive instead of reactive.


Ready to save some money while keeping people safe? For as little as the cost of a pair of safety boots per person, you can start delivering training in just a few minutes! Remember that microburst greatness we talked about earlier? Ving has more than 1,000 courses and more than 8,000 microburst lessons. Although it might not happen in a day, starting the process to involve your CEO and become a great safety leader can start now. These microbursts of training allow you to save time and create an environment for your employees to be better learners. Ving is ideal for both centralized and decentralized workforces. Don’t delay; learn more about Ving today.


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