Safety is a Lifestyle

June 28, 2017

Many people ask how I've made it this far in my career in such a short time. It's not because I know everything; no one does. It's because I treat people with the respect for which they are due. I have had the honor in working in some of the biggest projects and with some of the best companies in this country.

As a safety professional, my job is not to tell employees how to do their job.  I also am not a safety cop.

Early in my career, Randy Williamson with Whiting-Turner told me , “you can catch more bees with honey." From that moment forward, when I walk through a job site, I keep that in mind – no matter what the safety infraction or the issue at hand. 

I have been able to talk to any employee in any situation and have been able to handle the situation in my favor. From my standpoint, I have been able to see were other safety professionals fail to get their points across to their workers. 

One question I always get asked is “how did you become a safety guy?" The answer is not the training, education, the certificates or the credentials. It's all about how you respond and treat people. 

Two safety managers can have the same scenario and achieve two completely different outcomes all based on how they carry themselves. I am not better than anyone. I don't know all the answers, but what I do know is that everyone is at that job site to provide, whether for themselves or for their family.

You never can know what is going on in someone's head or what personal issues they might be having. Instead of jumping down their throats because they are doing something incorrectly, take a second, take a step back and talk to the employee; don't talk down to the employee. You might learn something yourself. They will tell you why they're doing it that way. Maybe they thought they were doing it right, maybe it's because they're being pushed for production. You might just discover a root cause that you weren't even looking for. 

The reason I can build a great connection with any employee is because I genuinely care. Workers can tell whether you care or whether you're just trying to check the block. 

Connect with your employees on a deeper level besides the scope of work.  It will take you far.  Never stop learning; never stop becoming a better you. Take a communication course that will help you engage anyone in any scenario. Safety is not a job. It's a calling and a lifestyle. 

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!