Why Safety Leadership Matters

Posted by Kevin Burns on Dec 6, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Safety leadership is about putting leadership skills into the hands of the people who are responsible for safety.

What’s that got to do with me? That is one of the first questions you ask yourself before you commit to doing something, or volunteering for something. You want to see the direct benefit back to you. Even in charitable giving you get a win. That’s why you do it.

Employees respond better to those things in their work where they can see the benefit of their own full participation. Show the employee his or her win and you will get their engagement. Safety is included in that.


Cut through the clutter

Everyone is busy. There are more than enough people asking for your attention and making demands on you each day. You have to be picky about the things that you give your attention to. You do not have an unlimited amount of energy or time. That’s why books and videos and articles and videos on safety get your attention. You have responsibilities in safety. You want resources that help you perform better at safety. Easy peasy. You pick the resources that speak directly to what you’re trying to do. There’s a win for you.

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Podcast Ep.7 - Going Home Safe Is Not What Matters Most

Posted by Kevin Burns on Oct 12, 2016 3:01:28 PM

Welcome to The Safety Leader Podcast. We are live on Libsyn and iTunes! Click the play button above to listen.

Subscribe to The Safety Leader Podcast in iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-safety-leader-podcast/id1147852584

“What matters most is that everyone goes home safe each day.”

Is making sure people go home safe really what matters most? Because if that’s what matters most, then it’s the least you can do. It's the bare minimum of things you are allowed to do by law when it comes to safety. You are not allowed to do less. You can be fined or jailed if you do less.

Employees have a basic expectation that their workplace and their employers will do what is necessary to protect them from harm. So when you tell your people that what matters most is that they go home safely, they know that. That’s their expectation.

So really, is sending people home safely the most important thing you do each day? Or could you be doing a lot more?

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Safety Leader Podcast Ep 006 - 7 Things Supervisory/Safety Gets Wrong

Posted by Kevin Burns on Sep 22, 2016 11:16:56 AM

Welcome to The Safety Leader Podcast. We are live on Libsyn and iTunes! Click the play button above to listen.

Subscribe to The Safety Leader Podcast in iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-safety-leader-podcast/id1147852584

In a perfect world, safety processes and procedures are definable and repeatable. But when you throw in the human element, process and procedure don’t always work. People are the most difficult variable to control.

The choice is either to police your people into compliance or to build a culture of safety that wins their hearts and minds. As a motivational tool, hitting frontline workers over the head with a rulebook doesn’t work. In fact, it takes much less effort to let them know they’re appreciated.

The problem is that an inexperienced supervisor who doesn’t know how to motivate and develop individuals on the job, ultimately has a harder time getting the job done. If there is no strategy to continuously improve employees, there’s little chance of improving the organization as a whole, and that includes safety.

In fact, there are seven particular things that inexperienced and poorly trained supervisors and safety people do wrong. Let’s take a look at each of these mistakes.

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Safety Leader Podcast Ep. 005 - Live Where Your People Live To Connect In Safety

Posted by Kevin Burns on Sep 5, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Welcome to The Safety Leader Podcast. We are live on Libsyn and iTunes! Click the play button above to listen.

Subscribe to The Safety Leader Podcast in iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-safety-leader-podcast/id1147852584 

If a safety issue doesn’t affect you directly, you may see the importance of addressing it but you may not feel the same motivation to address it quickly. Because the problem doesn’t affect you personally. If you’re not working directly at the front-line, you may not be motivated by the same things or in the same way that a front-line worker or supervisor is when it comes to safety.

Every moment spent in an office, and not in the field or on the shop floor, is a moment that you’re not experiencing what your front-line crews and supervisors are experiencing. When you talk about performance numbers at safety meetings, they don’t have the same meaning. They don’t resonate with your people the way they do with you.

If you want to connect with people at a level where they feel your commitment to safety, walk a mile in their shoes, or walk a mile beside their shoes. Walk where they walk. See what they see. Experience what they experience....

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Safety Leader Podcast Ep 004 - Become A More Effective Safety Leader

Posted by Kevin Burns on Aug 29, 2016 9:30:00 AM

Welcome to The Safety Leader Podcast. We are live on Libsyn and iTunes! Click the play button above to listen.

Subscribe to The Safety Leader Podcast in iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-safety-leader-podcast/id1147852584

In every job, regardless of position or title, there are people who are effective at the job. And there are people who may be qualified for the job, but not terribly effective.

Being qualified for the job doesn’t automatically guarantee that you’re going to be effective at it. You may have seniority, or your certification, or a love of safety. These don't guarantee that you'll be effective at the job.

The job of a safety person isn’t to be a hero or to save people’s lives. The biggest part of the job really is communication. Safety people and supervisors are supposed to influence, coach and mentor employees to make good decisions. To become much more effective and make a bigger difference, understand that your people don’t need your protection. They need your guidance....

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Safety Leader Podcast Ep 003 - Tie Safety To Employee Pride

Posted by Kevin Burns on Aug 22, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Welcome to The Safety Leader Podcast. We are live on Libsyn and iTunes! Click the play button above to listen.

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Safety Leader Podcast - Ep. 002 - Earn Respect Of Your Crew

Posted by Kevin Burns on Aug 15, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Welcome to The Safety Leader Podcast. We are live on Libsyn and iTunes! Click the play button above to listen.

(Subscribe to The Safety Leader Podcast in iTunes. In iTunes Podcasts, simply click "File" and then "Subscribe To Podcast." Enter "http://kevburns.libsyn.com/rss" in the open window.)

It's About Respect

As a safety leader, you have a strong commitment to safety. Scolding your bosses on social media for a lack of commitment to safety accomplishes nothing. It displays a lack of respect for your co-workers.

Safety folks are convinced that safety can’t improve without senior management’s support and commitment. They believe that the safety department isn’t able to bring the safety numbers down until senior management gets on board and increases their commitment to safety. That’s not true. A perceived lack of commitment to safety from senior management doesn’t make your job impossible. It’s just going to be a little harder but not impossible.

Senior management is responsible for ensuring the health of the forest. Front-line supervisors and safety personnel are responsible for ensuring the health of each tree. And if the trees are healthy, the forest is healthy. Your job at the front line is to ensure the health of each tree.

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The Safety Leader Podcast: Welcome to Episode 1

Posted by Kevin Burns on Aug 9, 2016 12:01:26 PM

Welcome to The Safety Leader Podcast. We are now live on Libsyn and coming soon to iTunes! Click the play button above to listen.

(Meanwhile, you can still subscribe to The Safety Leader Podcast in iTunes. In iTunes Podcasts, simply click "File" and then "Subscribe To Podcast." Enter "http://kevburns.libsyn.com/rss" in the open window.)

How did the Safety Leader Podcast come about?

In talking with quite a few of my clients and connections on social media, I came to realize that many of my Blog readers worked on the road, in remote locations sometimes, from their mobile offices a lot and didn't have ten minutes to sit down and watch a video or read a few blog posts in succession. But you drive to work and you drive home from work. And sometimes you drive for work. It's those miles that can be made useful, where you can improve your skills as a supervisor or safety person to get better at helping others to be better at safety.

As a safety communications and management consultant, I’ve seen that when frontline supervisors buy into safety as one of their personal values, they better understand their role in keeping the workplace safe. The Safety Leader Podcast introduces the next level in safety. Workplace safety lies in the relationship between the frontline employee, the employee’s immediate supervisor, and the bond among the entire crew. Supervisors are uniquely positioned to bring workplace safety past compliance and across the threshold to where safety is personal. When trust and respect are the tools of frontline supervisors, their ability to personally influence frontline employees is deeply improved.

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