The job of a safety director can and should be one of the most fulfilling jobs in the industry. After all, you get paid to make sure people have a comfortable and safe day at work – or at least that they go with the same number of fingers and toes that they come in with.
If you are taking over an actual program, you are going to be expected to repair no matter how good the previous person was. If you are just starting a new safety program, you will be faced with the difficulties of changing the way people think about safety.
Here are some important tips that will help guide you in having a successful experience as a safety director:
- Know your own goals. In order to feel victorious in any job, you have to know how that job belongs to your own life goals. Know what your expectations are of your self. Make sure you have individual goals that are captured by this job.
- Know and follow your company’s stance on security. While most major companies have a legitimate interest in keeping their employees safe and highly motivated, some businesses have safety programs because they have to. Again make sure the companies goals adjust with your personal goals.
- Get to know your workers. Spend time on the factory floor. Make the workers feel happy talking to you. You will get a lot more assistance from them in times of change if they feel you really care about their safety.
- Care about the security of the employees. Remember that construction line workers have a different attitude toward work than professionals. While you may never contemplate doing an unsafe act at work, many employees will do whatever it takes to keep a job or to look like a hero at work. Know the motivation of the employees and take the precautions required to preserve them.
- Focus on actual problems. While the number of possible hazards in a facility is infinite, there will likely be a few major areas that cause real difficulties for employees. Start in these areas before moving on to far fetched potential problems. I once had a support worker injured installing a guard over something that had been exposed for twenty years and never caused an injury.
- Network with other security professionals. You will gain experience beyond value by talking with others who are faced with the same problems you are. Find out what works and what does not work in safety networking meetings. You can join a local group of safety professionals as well as communicate with other safety directors within your company.
- Always be true to your company. Resist the lure to whine and complain because your company will not give you all the support that you ask for. Never reveal any likely hazards or violations outside your own company. If you have a problem with the way things are done, review it with your boss or seek another job. Don’t set yourself up to be the scapegoat when things go wrong.
- Accept the charge for the safety of the workers. Don’t be afraid to stop a machine or a job that is being performed in an unsafe manner. If you have taken the time to get to know the workers and the jobs that they do, your decision will be appreciated.