PeopleWork - The Human Touch in Workplace Safety: New Book by Kevin Burns

PeopleWork lays out a new safety model. It changes the discussion from rule-based enforcement to performance-based culture focused on mentoring, coaching, and inspiring teams.

author-w-book_sm.jpgIn my work as a safety management consultant, I’ve seen that when frontline supervisors buy into safety as a personal value, they better understand their role in keeping the workplace safe. In fact, if crews themselves can become safety leaders, the need for safety inspectors almost disappears altogether.

So, I wrote PeopleWork - The Human Touch in Workplace Safety to introduce the next level in safety. In the book, I lay out The M4 Method for taking workplace safety to the next level. The M4 Method combines four elements: Management, Meetings, Marketing and Motivation. All parts depend on the other parts to take safety from a compliance-based focus to one that is more people-based. The people-based approach helps employees to buy-in to safety.

Here are a few snippets from the book now on sale worldwide on Amazon....

Safety lies in the relationship between the frontline employee, the employee’s immediate supervisor, and the bond among the entire crew. No senior level initiatives, safety department compliance measures, or culture improvement ideas can have positive results if the frontline supervisor hasn’t established real working relationships. The supervisor needs to be a tipping point between safety compliance and safety success.

Supervisors are uniquely positioned to bring workplace safety past compliance and across the threshold to where safety is personal. When trust and respect are embraced by frontline supervisors, their ability to personally influence frontline employees is deeply improved.

A rules-based approach to management doesn’t have the reach of smart coaching and mentoring for ensuring safety. Quoting the rule book, finding fault, and barking orders isn’t leadership. It isn’t even good management.


Most frontline supervisors ascend to their positions by virtue of being the most senior guy on the job. They don’t have any particular management or supervisory skills, yet they’re the ones in charge on site. They’re the ones who are supposed to keep the team together, keep them motivated and focused, make the right decisions, keep their crews safe.

To get safety right, they need to be armed with more than just a rule book of procedures. No one wants a safety cop looking over their shoulder while they work. Supervisors need the personal skills to become centers of influence. They need to be thinking, “What can I bring to the job that helps the new guy from getting hurt or getting others hurt? What can I do to help him or her improve?”


Safety has become a long, slow process of one-by-one elimination of things that are unsafe. Which is unfortunate, because that long list of what not to do often has no direct correlation to the right actions to take. It’s like going to the grocery store with a list of items not to buy. You have to cross-reference each item against your list. What should take a half hour can take all day. It’s not practical, and worse, it’s self-defeating.

When companies hire, they look for employees with the most positives in their favor. They don’t look for people who have the fewest negatives. They choose staff, supervisors, managers, and senior executives by all the things that are right about them. The company wants to build on their strengths, knowing full well that by building on those strengths they’ll eventually eliminate their weaknesses, or at least compensate for them.

This same focus should carry to the workplace itself. Workplaces are where decisions are made. New ideas and technology constantly disrupt old plans and strategies. Companies therefore want people who can think on their feet. They may not know it, at least not yet, but when it comes to safety, senior management wants people who can reach the next level in making workplaces safe.


Workplace safety is closely aligned with how we connect, communicate, and interact with each other on the job. It’s about the value we place on each other as workmates and individuals.

When you care about the person working next to you, every action you take will be influenced by safety. When your actions on the job are designed to get the job done safely and to protect yourself and those around you, you display the traits of a safety leader.

In the work world, it’s the crew supervisor who sets the standard. When the supervisor embraces a safety dynamic built around shared responsibility and real caring, the entire team performance changes. I’ve seen that when supervisors take safety personally and put the new safety model into play, frontline workers get the message.


cover_front.pngFor frontline supervisors, safety people, managers, and senior executives, PeopleWork lays out a new safety model. You will learn how to positively influence safety outcomes by the way you influence your crews. You’ll learn practical methods for building a people-based approach to safety. You’ll see how support systems build trust and motivation. You’ll learn communication strategies for motivating your crews.

Most importantly, you’ll learn how to take workplace safety to a level where it actually works... for people. Go to the PeopleWork web page to get your copy now.

Kevin Burns helps organizations integrate caring for and valuing employees through their safety programs. In addition to consulting with and facilitating discussions between all levels of management and supervisory, Kevin can also give engaging, entertaining and inspiring presentations to front-line employees at safety meetings. Kevin Burns is a management consultant, safety leadership speaker and author of PeopleWork - The Human Touch in Workplace Safety. He is based in Calgary, Canada.

©2016 ZeroSpeak Corporation and Kevin Burns.
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Topics: safety leadership, kevin burns, safety meeting, safety marketing, peoplework