Most companies see Safety as a cost or expense, the Safety Professional’s job is just to make sure they are in compliance. To change this, we need to show that Safety can add value to our company. The Safety program should be focused on serving our company and helping it reach its goals.
One of the first things that I learned in my safety career was that I could always be reacting to the events that were happening and always be behind. Or, I could find ways to better understand what was going to happen so I could be better prepared.
Reacting to items being brought to my attention on my colleague's schedule often had me trying to get things done at the last minute. It also perpetuated the stereotype that safety just slows down production. I started to embed myself in the operations of the business and started to work proactively with the rest of the team to ensure that the safety program added value.
How did I do this and how can you start getting proactive in your project planning starting today? Follow the following three key strategies to make sure that the Safety program serves the company's business goals, while also strengthening your planning and implementation of safety on the job site.
- Start by studying the company's goals and objectives.
- What direction is the company going?
- What are the operational issues or strategies and how will they interact with the Safety program?
- This information will help you better understand how to prepare. An example of this is when a new project, new worker process, or new equipment is planned for the company. This means Safety will be needed to assist in the near future.
- Converse with the people involved early so that you have lots of lead time to learn what your team can do to support the new initiative.
- Having your operations manager come into your office and say "we have this new project that starts in three days and we need to have all the safety equipment in place by then", means you are left scrambling.
- When it isn’t ready in three days, we are back to battling the narrative that safety is slowing down the company.
- Ask to be included in strategic planning meetings.
- If you get pushback, bring up the last time that safety wasn’t ready when everyone else was.
- Let them know that it is important for the business that safety is ready to support.
- Once you are attending these meetings and a strategy is rolled out, ask the questions early so you can prepare for it.
- You may need to complete hazard assessments, create job procedures, or do anything else that is your responsibility.
- Add value to the meeting by bringing in safety early.
Watch the video to hear more about these strategies:
Let's bust some myths. "It is their job to keep you informed so you can be ready."
- Technically this is true but it doesn’t help you very much when they don’t. Be proactive and make sure that safety is serving the business as an integral part of the team.
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