What are your safety goals? Consider the following questions:
• What can you realistically expect of your employees?
• How much time and money can be devoted to the safety program?
• What obstacles must be overcome?
• Can you win the commitment of upper management and employees?
An effective safety program is a comprehensive approach to help employees understand their responsibilities, establish good safety procedures, and create systems for collecting the information and records required. Your safety program should be built into pre-project planning and executed throughout every project to help you to reduce or eliminate accidents that cause injuries and crashes, damage to property, fire or explosion, health hazards, pollution and insurance claims, to name just a few.
The components of an effective safety program should include the following:
• A policy statement that includes management's total commitment to safety signed by the top officer of the company.
• Written goals and objectives.
• The efforts of management personnel as well as the participation and cooperation of all employees.
• Task-specific training.
• A procedure for measuring the effectiveness of the program.
• A method for enforcing the rules of the program.
Once you have structured your safety program to fit your company, safety responsibility and accountability must be assigned. The next logical step is to translate those responsibilities into specific tasks and project activities. For example, who will be responsible for accident investigation and how will it be handled? Who will be responsible for fulfilling the requirements of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard for your company? Who will be conducting toolbox talks?
A checklist provides a method of determining the needs of your company. That information will provide you with a solid foundation on which to build your company's comprehensive safety program. Your company's resources will dictate how you will get the job done.
Another important consideration when developing and implementing an effective safety program is the people who will be involved in its management. Many safety management jobs go unfilled because there is a real shortage of motivated safety managers, people with force, vision, imagination and guts.
Successful safety management depends on the caliber of the people in the business. All thoughtful safety managers and students of safety management realize that people make the difference. But the mere presence of a skillfully recruited group of people still ensures nothing but activity, directed or misdirected.
Scarcely a management training session or seminar is held where motivation is not discussed. But how many safety managers understand it? How many sense its full impact on the safety program?
Motivation literally means "action to achieve motive." We, as managers, spend large amounts of time on the "action" but little on the "motive." Resources and combinations of resources, whether people, money, materials, time or space, are meaningless until motivation takes place. Motivation is the most vital part of a worthwhile safety program. Without motivation, we have no motives and no actions; the safety program becomes tepid and without activity. In contrast, when we have strong motives and strong actions, and when they are positively directed and purposefully carried through, we experience success.
There are a number of reasons why safety managers have not developed a definitive, logical and workable approach to motivation. First, we have attempted to meet the challenge of motivation with programs, tools and techniques. Efforts have been based on a superficial application of theories rather than the application of principles developed from actual problem solving.
Practices have too often been based on the premise that employees do not want to work safely, lack problem-solving skills, and have no capacity for planning. We have spent little time or effort in learning about the potential of positive thinking and applying it. No amount of individual effort to grow and develop positively will be completely successful if the motivational climate is negative and hostile. The main difference between the successful and the unsuccessful safety manager is not that one is doing more than the other. The essence of true leadership is the ability to motivate and inspire others to achieve a team effort that's the sum total of its members' individual efforts. With that kind of leadership, we can all know what's expected of us and how best to accomplish our company's goals. iP