The Leadership Imperative – Why Corporate Leaders Need to Focus on Safety Leadership

Posted on May 01, 2024 | Sponsored Content | 0 Comments


By Glyn Jones, M.A.Sc, P.Eng, CIH, CRSP

Companies today live in the global marketplace where demands are put on them for fast delivery of products and services that are high quality at competitive rates. In addition, the regulators have set in place a strict occupational health and safety framework. Companies that fail to live up to these requirements are prosecuted in the provincial and territorial courts, and the court of public opinion. What senior leaders need is the capacity to provide real safety leadership. A C-suite safety leader is someone who influences the good decisions and positive behaviors made by employees at every level of the organization. Safe-production can happen when the C-suite make the effort to be seen where the work happens, promoting good work planning and constant communication.

There are a number of specific and measurable things you can do to move towards being a better safety leader.

Take time to focus on what is good and right. It is easy to see the holes in the cheese. Part of your role as a safety leader is to learn a bit more about your company’s safety management systems and processes, speak about the good things that are happening, and build towards and articulate a better future.

Get to be known as a person by all. Leave your title and the specific linkage to the C-suite out of the conversation. The Safety Leadership opportunity is about promoting the idea that employees are supported to take time to do things right every time and to get rid of mixed messaging they get that tells them to “get’r done”. Your job as a safety leader is to reach out and “touch” your employees, connect with your employees, and be seen as someone who wants to help them problem solve!

Connect with the people and keep talking to them. Safety Leadership is about people. You need to be able to take the time to connect with them and share your thoughts, ideas, and feelings, and engage in a way that boosts their self-esteem. Safety Leadership is a “people business”. If you don’t like people and don’t want to engage with people, it will be tough to make this work.

Try being yourself and try being more accessible to employees. The most interesting people are the ones who take time to learn about others. Tell a compelling story about yourself, the company, and your vision for a safe future where workers always go home safely every day. Make time with the employees and they are more likely to connect with the safety management system and the company.

Safety Leadership is hard but the return on investment will be significant for your organization.

Get to work on developing your formal understanding of safety management systems. Look for a formalized safety leadership program, such as UNB’s online Certificate in Safety Leadership. Do the work. Make the investment. Make a difference.

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