ASSE: Getting Supervisors Involved in Safety

"Engaged supervisors lead by example," Greg Stefan of the St. Paul told attendees at a session on management accountability in safety at the American Society of Safety Engineers' Professional Development Conference in Denver.

Stefan said it was important to establish safety accountability for managers and supervisors because they are the ones who control activities in an organization. In measuring supervisors' safety performance, Stefan said activity and task measures are the most powerful type of motivator, are directly under their control and are objective, not the result of luck.

Stefan recommended that managers choose three or four activities that supervisors can engage in that are the most critical to improved safety performance. Among the activities he identified:

  • Conducting safety inspections of facilities/equipment
  • Conducting follow-up inspections to ensure that problems are corrected
  • Conducting safety training
  • Implementing a daily pre-work meeting
  • Investigating accidents and taking corrective actions
  • Following appropriate hiring procedures
  • Conducting one-on-one safety coaching with employees
  • Documentation

Stefan said that as these activities are conducted on an ongoing basis, the likelihood of accidents occurring should be reduced.

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