You might come up with the best safety solution ever, but if you can't sell it to management, it will never be implemented. To improve your approval rate, learn to anticipate the questions that your manager must answer in order to sign off on the requested change.

Research and have answers to the following five questions:

1) What exactly is the problem (surface and root)?

  • Hazardous condition, unsafe practice.
  • Inadequate policies, procedures, rules.

2) What is the history of the problem? Any similar accidents in the past?

  • What were the direct costs?
  • What were the unbudgeted costs, and what caused them?

3) What options that would correct the problem? Include at least three. These options must address the hazards and the exposures.

  • Low/high cost solutions that eliminate the problem now/soon.
  • Low/high cost solutions that reduce the problem now/soon.
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each solution?

4) Who is the decision maker? Who can approve, authorize and act on the corrective measure and when can it be carried out once approved?

  • What are possible objections the decision maker might raise?
  • What arguments are most likely to be successful against those objections?

5) What will be gained (the benefits) by approving the recommendation and what is the predictable result (costs) if not approved?

  • Estimate costs of corrective action.
  • Review employer obligations under administrative law.
  • Address probability and severity.
  • Estimate insured and uninsured costs if corrective action not taken.
  • Discuss the "message" sent to the workforce as a result of action or inaction.