One of the best ways to improve your company's safety performance is to train your supervisors to take an active role in safety management. Your supervisors, because they are in direct contact with your workers, are in the best position to impact safety. We believe your supervisor safety training should cover these five key areas.
1 - Effective Safety Training
Your supervisors need to be able to provide safety training to your employees. Supervisors need to be able to not only know and recite safety rules to their employees, they need to be able to explain the "why" behind the rules and consequences of non-compliance. They should be able to train employees on the safe ways to perform their jobs and specific procedures and behaviors that are required to do the job safely. The supervisor should be trained on how to do effective on the job training, and how to properly document the training and its results.
2- How to Provide Resources and Support
The supervisor must provide the resources and support that employees need to do their jobs safely. Supervisors should be trained to identify and correct hazards in the workplace. This may include doing Job Hazard Analyses, making sure equipment is in good operating condition, and ensuring the work area is free of clutter.
Supervisors should also be trained to watch for signs of distraction and stress in the workplace. Stress can occur when employees feel they are not able to perform up standards due to some reason out of their control. This can result in problem behaviors, such as non-compliance with procedures, as the employee tries to regain control.
3- Enforcement of Safety Policies and Rules
The supervisor is responsible for making sure employees follow all applicable safety and health rules in the performance of their jobs. Any disciplinary action imposed for non-compliance should be consistent and fair. Appropriate discipline is:
- tied to the employee's behavior, not the outcome
- based on facts, not emotions
- consistent throughout the company
- applied only after it's determined that management met its obligations to the employee
- proportional to the severity of the infraction and impact on the company
- 4- How to Provide Adequate Supervision
Providing adequate supervision means that your supervisor observes, identifies and corrects hazards before they cause an injury or illness to an employee.
Supervisors should be trained on conducting safety inspections to identify hazardous conditions in the workplace.
Supervisors should regularly observe employees to make sure they are not engaging in unsafe behaviors. Observation gives the supervisor a chance to correct unsafe behaviors before an accident occurs.
Supervisors should be trained on how to do a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA). This provides the supervisor with a clear understanding of what the employee knows and doesn't know about the task and it's risks, helps identify needed changes in equipment or process, and allows the employee to participate in the safety process.
Supervisors should be trained on Incident/Accident Analysis. By analyzing every accident or near miss, you can determine the root cause of each incident and implement corrective actions to avoid future incidents.
5 - How to Demonstrate Safety Leadership
Finally, you should coach your supervisors to be safety leaders. Supervisors are responsible for safe execution of the work they supervise, safe conduct of their crew while under their supervision, and the safety of all the workers under their supervision. Leadership is not about power. A good safety leader leads by example, and he understand that if he want his employees to care about their work, he must show that he cares about his employees first.