As a frontline worker I understand my safety role and responsibilities, along with federal, state and local regulations and what is expected of my employer. What I have concern about is...how many businesses don't utilize the safety expertise of a safety professional if "safety is their overriding priority" or "safety is their value." Not using a competent safety professional leads me to the perception the words are spoken only as a slogan. I know not all safety manager jobs are filled by credentialed safety professionals, but these safety managers can exercise the opportunity to improve themselves through a credentialing process.
I ask fellow frontline workers," How do you describe a good safety manager?"
Some workers see a good safety manager as someone who recognizes needs and drives positive change at the worksite. One noted positive change was a focus on workplace goals. They see a good safety person as one who advises the organizational leadership how to control hazards to make the work environment safer. They are an advocate. They want you and the work environment to be healthy and safe; they care.
As a labor safety representative I want our represented businesses to clarify expectations, define safety success, use measuring tools, analyzing and adjusting to create a profitable sustainable safe workplace. I want each to embrace and implement sustainable strategies. Maybe this can be done without access to a safety professional, but my life experiences raises skepticism. I'm encouraging each safety manager and union safety representative in my area of influence to be credentialed thru an accredited credentialing organization such as the Institute for Safety & Health Management.
As safety professionals we aim to influence the organizational leadership to promote health and safe workplaces for our workers, contractors, customers, and communities by implementing systematic safety management plans emphasizing resources for successful sustainable application. Repeatedly we observe and evaluate worker tasks, equipment, policies and procedures to identity health, safety, and environmental hazards. We then evaluate the risks of those hazards and utilize the hierarchy of controls to minimize the related risks which cannot be eliminated. We engage organizational leadership, our workers, contractors and encourage their contributions to not only recognize workplace hazards but to be part of the decision making process on resolving OH&S concerns potentially affecting them.
It's fair to say, as a safety professional our work is ongoing and never done. However, the work is more likely to be accomplished in a sustainable fashion if the chosen safety person is a credentialed safety professional, supported, and prepared to do so.