Home » Uncategorized » Safety Management Series – Safety Training For the Corporate Executive

Throughout my professional occupational health and safety career, getting senior managers to clearly understand, and then support health and safety efforts, has often challenged me. To those of us who know that the Return on Investment (ROI) is clearly there for the taking, the frustration levels can be high when senior management just doesn’t seem to “get it.”

My experience tells me that the reason they don’t get it is that very few, if any, senior executives have had formal safety training or education. It’s just not part of the normal education and training route to the executive office. If there has been any training at all it has usually come in the form of a safety practitioner trying to get resources from them in an executive meeting. Worse than that, the source of their training may have been a run-in with government officials when an incident occurred or violations were found through an inspection.

If we want to get the attention of the folks in the corner offices, we’re going to have to get in quick, make our point and be prepared to answer the tough questions. It is our job to educate them, like it or not. If you do get a chance to actually obtain senior management’s attention, I suggest the following are the critical facts senior executives and managers need to know.

World-class safety is obtainable without sending the corporation into bankruptcy.

The considerable ROI for occupational health and safety efforts can be calculated. Reduced risk controlled insurance premiums and avoided downtime can be quantified and investments justified. The legal, moral and financial “payback” for success needs to be communicated.

The path to excellence is well worn. The business management model is established, the goals are set, the action plans are developed and executed; the leading indicators are measured, communicated 안전놀이터 and rewarded. We then celebrate the success or refit the goals and action plans based on what we’ve learned from our efforts. Safety excellent companies are not going broke because they are achieving world-class results in safety. They are actually thriving because of it.

Managing occupational health and safety takes the same skill set as managing every other aspect of the business.

Senior executives should be reassured that their current skills can be applied to occupational health and safety management. Many senior managers are fearful they must become experts in safety laws, regulations, codes, and standards. This is simply not true. They no more have to become “safety experts” than they have to become computer programmers to lead an effort to improve their corporation’s information systems. The strategies to meet the requirements of external responsibility systems that have been established through the laws of the land are no more complex in safety than in other areas (taxation, environmental, corporate governance). Most senior executives are not experts in those areas, but manage them through the advice and assistance of experts in the field. Safety is no different.

Occupational health and safety management is “problem solving” at it’s finest. Encourage your management team to use the same problem solving techniques they use for other aspects of their business to address safety issues.

Senior management plays a large part in establishing the occupational health and safety culture of their corporations by what they say and do.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous quote, “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say,” never rang truer than when dealing with health and safety issues. How a corporation spends its time and money speaks volumes. Clearly activity such as training, workplace observations (both behavioural and physical) and communications are all examples of visible demonstrations of the value placed on health and safety. A corporation cannot achieve real safety through wishes and hopes. It takes effort, the same kind of efforts that it takes to achieve anything worthwhile. Priorities come and go as the business needs arise. Values such as safety, quality, and corporate citizenship are not in competition with profitability. They actually enhance it. What we need from senior executives is their vision and the demonstrated commitment through their actions.

Accountability systems that work for achieving world-class results in production and quality also work for safety.

Measure the right things and you’ll get the results you want. Internal responsibility systems to drive productivity work just as well to drive safety. Giving managers and employees the responsibility, authority and support to accomplish goals is as applicable to safety outcomes as it is to quality and production. Give them activities to do and hold them accountable when they are done. In this case, catching people doing things right is very powerful. Dr. Dan Petersen said it best… “What gets measured gets done. What gets rewarded gets results.”

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