- 6 Tips to Improve Supervisors’ Safety Performance
- Need a safety professional to staff your project? We can help
6 Tips to Improve Supervisors’ Safety Performance
By Flavius Brown
A key ingredient in creating a strong safety culture is having supervisors who are committed to their company’s safety program.
Employees take their cues from their supervisors. Supervisors set employee performance expectations. If a supervisor consistently requires safe behavior and leads by example, strong safety performance will follow. But many supervisors are promoted from the ranks of employees and may not know how to lead for safety.
A supervisor’s job can be made more effective before he or she ever begins interacting with employees by helping motivate all workers to “want to be safe,” rather than feeling they merely “have to” follow safety rules. Instructor-led supervisor training on safety can also be of immense benefit.
Motivated employees make better choices when confronted with a situation that tempts them to choose shortcuts that are more convenient or comfortable than acting safely. Motivated employees are the foundation of a strong safety culture. There is proven motivational training available to assist in this effort.
Keeping motivation in mind, here are six areas where supervisors should concentrate and tips on how to achieve excellence in safety performance.
Commitment – Be 100 percent committed to safety. When there’s pressure to produce or address a maintenance issue, don’t give in to the impulse to ask an employee to take a shortcut. And be sure to lead by example.
Communication – This may be obvious, but employees don’t know what they are supposed to do unless they are told. Communicate frequently on the importance of safety and provide information on safe working techniques. In some workplaces supervisors conduct safety huddles or toolbox talks to make sure this communication takes place on a regular basis. But informal communication is vital as well. Supervisors should look at themselves in an imaginary mirror as they communicate and ask, “ Am I conveying a clear, positive, empathetic message in both the words I choose and in my non-verbal communication?”. It is crucial to pay attention to facial expressions, eye contact, body language, etc.
Compassion – Show that you concerned about your employees’ safety, health, and well-being. Employees are much more willing to do what is expected when they know you truly care about them. Demonstrate that you understand the challenges of their job by being visible and available to talk.
Coaching – Employees may not know how to carry out a task safely. Be alert to gaps in knowledge and coach employees to better performance. Again, remember to always lead by example.
Consistency – Don’t play favorites. Treat all employees fairly and don’t let some get away with unsafe behavior while applying pressure to others.
Accountability – Hold yourself accountable for working safely and do the same with your employees. Demonstrate that accountability by working safely consistently, no matter the pressure.
Flavius Brown is a Vice President of FDRsafety, in charge of training. Contact him at fbrown@fdrsafety or 1-888-755-8010 for more information about our training for supervisors, or out Attitude-Based Safety Culture Training.
Need a safety professional to staff your project? We can help
FDRsafety is composed of expert safety professionals with experience in construction, general industry, oil and gas, and a wide variety of other fields. We understand your safety needs on projects and can provide top-notch professionals for assignments of any length.
The safety professionals we provide are our employees – we handle all administrative matters and make the process seamless for you. We have the industry’s fastest response time and can have a safety professional on your site quickly. If one of our professionals become ill, we quickly provide a substitute.
Safety professionals interested in working with FDRsafety can get more information here.