Hey friend – I’m not sure what role you play exactly. Maybe you are the general manager of a small business. Maybe you are the safety administrator. Hell, maybe you are the owner of a small business. Whatever your title is, my bet is that if you’ve ended up on our email list then you are a leader of some kind.
But leaders don’t become leaders by accident. At least not true leaders. True leaders are people that see the best in others and do whatever they can to draw those strengths out. They want to see them grow. They give them every opportunity to succeed, to contribute to the success of the organization.
What does this look like in the world of safety? So often safety is full of rules and guidelines and ‘you shall do this’ and ‘you shall not do that’. And some folks that are considered safety managers or safety leads end up policing and enforcing those rules, which is a huge drag for everyone. No one wants to be policed, no one wants to be nagged. No one wants to be reminded of the shalls and shall-nots and treated like mindless robots.
But Deidra, you might be thinking, what if someone is blatantly breaking the rules? Or what if there is some idiot on my crew that just doesn’t care? Isn't it my job to enforce the rules?
Before being the enforcer, let's slow down a bit. First of all, talk to the guy or gal:
Maybe the rule was developed by some schmuck that’s never stepped foot on a jobsite and so doesn’t understand how that ‘rule’ actually is impacting getting the work done properly and safely.
There are many ways at looking at a problem, and as a safety professional that works with a diverse variety of clients, there is no way I can tell my client's workers how they can do their work safely. Honestly, what do I know?? I’ve never worked in all of the industries that I consult in. I AM that schmuck that has never stepped foot on their jobsites.
So what do I do instead? I ask question after question, preferably of the field workers, to make sure that I am using their experiences and knowledge to blend with regulations to come up with the right safety rules, policies, practices and procedures that are customized to an organization.
Your workers are a wealth of knowledge – whether they are an experienced worker that can give you a ton of information that they have gleaned over the years, or a new worker that can provide you with loads of questions that you need to find answers to in order to keep your inexperienced workers safe.
You’re the leader of your organization, but your workers are the foundation, they are the backbone. When you’re building, implementing and managing your safety program, make sure that your workers are included in every aspect of it. They will be your number one resource. Include them every step of the way and your program will be golden.
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