21 Characteristics of Effective Safety Leaders Infographic - SafetyPro

Posted by
Lance Roux
on Apr 30, 2015

Over the recent months we’ve been writing about safety leadership and personality assessments. Billy Arcement, MEd reached out to us and we met up to discuss these important topics. As a leadership strategist, Mr Arcement’s education and consulting background gave him the tools and skills to better understand what it means to be a great leader. Turns out we share the same philosophies and values/goals. Mr Arcement has identified 21 characteristics of effective safety leaders. The following is some of the key takeaways from his blog on these characteristics.


All great safety programs are driven by great leaders. Mastering leadership skills is equally as important as mastering safety skills. They must work hand and glove for you to develop an outstanding safety initiative within your organization. Review these twenty-one ideas from the lens of the consummate safety professional. This is a good list to begin to examine your performance and the commitment of organizational owners and/or senior management. Over time, continue to add to the list. It’s a commitment with a huge benefit for you personally, for the greater good of the organization and for the overall safety of those under your responsibility. Below are the 21 characteristics of an effective safety leader.



21 Characteristics of effective safety leaders


You can click here to access the full blog written by Billy Arcement, MEd. There were few characteristics that stuck out to me as I was going through this list. Here are my favorites:

  1. (1) Its important employees see you as the “action” person who does not let safety issues go unanswered. Your response to issues helps build trust in the process and the overall efforts put forth by the safety department and senior management.
  2. (2) You don’t want to be considered a “black hole” when it comes to safety. It is critically important to respond in a timely manner and explain what can be done to protect employees or correct a safety deficiency. Set deadlines for yourself to gain credibility.
  3. (7) A true leader does their tasks but also requires those who undertake assignments for them to also complete their work. Accountability is a key characteristic all great leaders incorporate into their activities and they expect the same level of accountability from those they lead. The result of this mindset serves as a catalyst for moving people to new heights of performance.
  4. (11) Enthusiasm can be initiated for anything. Thinking you don’t like to do a task, will make the task drudgery. Being enthusiastic about undertaking a task will make the activity a pleasure to perform. To be perceived as enthusiastic, you must be enthusiastic. Behaving this way makes you a more pleasant person to be around.
  5. (13) As a professional, you must continually build your learning curve. Network with fellow professionals, read magazines and books on safety and/or attend safety conferences. Most important is to never get caught violating of a regulation simply because you were not proactive enough to keep up. Regulatory inspectors want implementation of items, not a non-compliant safety program.
  6. (18) Great leaders take the initiative and provide solutions for problems at hand. Your job is not to unload “monkeys” on the back of those who manage your job activities. Take on problems and create workable solutions if you want to truly make an impression on those who are watching your performance. And never forget the people you lead have a brain and can offer innovative solutions; work as a team because “Us” works a lot better than “you”.
  7. (19) Become a “servant leader” as those leaders strive to provide quality service to those they lead. Don’t make life difficult for those who need to work with you in any capacity. Share what you know and become helpful as best you can. In the long run, helping others with a service mentality results in greater rewards for you and recognition of your leadership abilities. Safety managers cannot survive as prima-donnas.
  8. (21) Viewing your work as a career and not a job gives one an entirely different prospective. A career mentality enables you to see the bigger picture and ultimately make more significant contributions. People with jobs think about the weekend, not their future.


Make it a habit to periodically review these leadership qualities with the intent of continuously improving your performance. That’s what true leaders do. Are you ready to join this elite group? For more information on leadership skills download our free safety manager’s guide to safety training.

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Tags: Safety training, Leadership

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