How to Turn Your Supervisors into Safety Coaches

Posted by
Lance Roux
on Apr 3, 2014

turn your supervisors into safety coachesOne way you can improve your company's safety performance is to train your supervisors to become safety coaches. When your supervisors become safety coaches, they go beyond issuing reprimands and focusing on doing the bare minimum to achieve compliance. As a result, it becomes easier to create and maintain your company's safety culture. Effective safety coaches:

Encourage safe practices and provide meaningful feedback to employees are positive when talking about safety
  • Lead by example
  • Are proactive in removing barriers to safe behavior

Safety coaching instills a “practice what you preach” mentality and creates a sustainable safety program that motivates your employees towards safety. Companies who are serious about safety coaching send their supervisors to coaching skills training courses that equip them with the skills to succeed in this role. Here are three simple strategies you can use to help turn your supervisors into safety coaches.

1.    Train them to focus on safe behavior

Coaching should be focused on safe behaviors, not on outcomes. Identify the 20% of safety rules that have 80% of the impact on safety and focus on those. Limit the number of rules you are coaching employees on to the five most important, so that they will be able to commit them to memory and eventually internalize them.

2.    Teach them to provide meaningful feedback

Part of the safety coaching process is to teach your supervisors how to identify bad habits and correct them while on the job site.  By correcting bad habits in a positive way, through coaching feedback, instead of through reprimands, you will create better safety attitudes and compliance. Your supervisors should focus on improving future behavior, not rehashing what happened yesterday and cannot be changed. 

3.    Train them to remove obstacles to safe behavior

Your safety coaches need to be trained to recognize obstacles to safety in the workplace and remove them so that employees will be able to work as safely as possible. Obstacles may include pressure to complete a task quickly, lack of proper equipment, or a perceived lack of management support. The best safety coaches are trained to recognize and eliminate these factors so the employees are empowered to make the best decisions.

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Tags: Safety Management, Safety Coaching

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