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Steps to Become a Successful EH&S Manager

By Peter Cutler on Fri, Nov 19, 2021 @ 03:04 PM

Topics: ehs

To be a manager means you should have all the managerial skills needed to be successful in your position, including leadership skills to guide your journey towards accomplishing the organization's objectives and fulfilling its plans. But being an EH&S manager is hard yet exciting! You are responsible for keeping the organization on the right track towards compliance by making every employee willingly follow safety measures in every task keeping everyone and everything safe and clean.
Therefore, choosing the right EH&S manager is a hard task for HR managers, because using “leadership ability” and “people skills” are overused in resumes that they became meaningless. Whereas the key to successful management is knowing how to deal with human personalities effectively. This also applies to safety and health matters.
So, if you are an EH&S manager or wish to be, the following is a guide towards success!
1- Lead by Example:
It is not enough to talk about safety measures, rules, and procedures, you have to display the same safe behaviors like the ones you’re promoting to your workforces.
Even in the smallest details, you can make big difference, like wearing the appropriate PPE on a work site.
2- Set Your Objectives:
This includes not only objectives for people but also safety objectives. To do so you should define safety responsibilities. Also, you should not only set goals for lagging indicators, such as incident rates, but also for leading indicators.
3- Provide Easy Access to Safety Information:
You should make sure that everyone has access to sources of safety knowledge in addition to safe work practices, permits, equipment specifications, policies, and procedures in a quick way, through cell phones for example.
4- Outline Program Elements:
You should define clearly all the components of the Health and Safety program and make sure they are successfully diffused to everyone.
5- Assign Roles:
Each employee should be assigned a role in safety, they should not feel like they are being forced to follow instructions, but like they are playing an important role in the success of the whole team. They must engage in the process willingly and it’s your job to make it happen.
6- Get Feedbacks:
You should always ask for comments and suggestions from both supervisors and workers. Try to use qualitative and quantitative methods.
7- Brand the Program:
Give your program a “personality”, so people feel attached to it! This is a well-known persuasion technique used by marketing experts, if you give something a catchy name it will be easily remembered.
8- Praise Employees When They Choose Safe Behaviors:
As a leader, you should always work on encouraging good behaviors, but make sure to be sincere and timely in your praise. Fair and equitable enforcement of company rules should never be overlooked. Also, studies have shown that positive reinforcement of good behaviors is more effective than the punishment of bad behaviors.
The trick here is that when you encourage enough safe acts positively, it will sound appropriate to discipline an employee for a safety violation and this motivation effort will help employees see safety as a core value.
9- Reward Employees Participation:
Some employees would like to make suggestions and do a contribution in resolving health and safety issues, be welcoming to their contribution even if it is not part of their job description or field of expertise, because they feel that they are helping their fellow workers and perhaps saving someone from disability or death. If these employees felt that their contribution is not taken into consideration by management, their enthusiasm will turn into cynicism.
Always make sure to recognize their value to employees’ safety and health.
10- Invest in People:
It could be in minor things such as lending an employee a training video to take home or bringing healthy cold drinks on a hot day, those small acts will help build your reputation among employees far from any other thing you could do.
11 - Continuously Improve and Simplify Plant Safety:
Work on removing hazards where possible rather than protecting employees from them. New employees tend to have more work accidents, by eliminating hazards you will make it easier for them to stay safe. This might seem obvious, but it is not always exercised in every company.
12- Visit Plant Areas Regularly:
Make sure to walk through at least one plant area per day to let employees see that you are there for them and be open to their comments and suggestions. Most employees would rather talk to you in person than by telephone being present establishes a line of communication. This simple act will give you the opportunity to catch problems before they become too serious.
13- Try to Learn at Least Something New Per Day:
Safety and Health professionals who have certifications must follow continuous educations to keep their certificates. This requirement is for a good reason. It helps keep them updated on current health and safety issues. You can do the same at a little cost. Read interesting articles that you find relatable to your field of work for example. Meeting and networking with peers is also constructive.
What’s Next?
Now that you have learned about the steps to become a successful EH&S manager, learn about the questions to ask during an EH&S software demo.

Peter Cutler

Written by Peter Cutler