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4 Resources to Get Better Safety Performances From Supervisors

Supervisor interacting with employees in a factory.

Supervisors and other frontline leaders are one of the biggest determinants of the overall success of your workplace safety program. After all, they have a key role in executing the high-level direction set by management.

Supervisors are also where the organization’s systems meet individual employees. This means that they are ideally positioned to monitor individual employees’ safety performance and to intervene when necessary—if they have the skills to do so.

Every safety manager should be attentive to the overall EHS skills and knowledge possessed by their organization’s supervisors. Fortunately, there are several resources that safety executives can rely upon to improve the safety abilities of their organization’s frontline leaders.

Here is an overview of four of the best safety resources that safety folks can use as they consider how to get better safety performances from supervisors and workplace leaders.

The supervisor’s crucial role in safety performance

Before you can properly address a problem, you need to make sure you have a real grasp on what you’re dealing with. And that’s why this article on supervisors in safety is so important—it provides a succinct review of why, as it says, “a safety program will only be as strong as the least effective shift supervisor.”

It spells out how supervisors have such an outsized influence on safety outcomes, as well as how varied outcomes can be in the same workplace depending on the overall ability of its supervisors.

The article also notes that six main qualities determine how effective a supervisor can be regarding health and safety issues. Exploring every quality in depth would take much more time than a single article allows for, but it does provide an overview of three of them to give readers a sense of how they might be able to leverage supervisors for better safety results.

The safety-first supervisor

If you feel like you don’t need convincing on the vital role that frontline leaders play in safety outcomes then The Safety-First Supervisor guide is a great place to start diving into the details. This 38-page PDF, which is free to download, outlines safety managers’ six biggest challenges with supervisors. From communication quality to safety data issues, it offers a detailed review of the potentially serious problems that crew leaders can cause.

The guide then explores specific solutions to each of those problems, outlining practical fixes that can be implemented to mitigate the issues. It also discusses three bigger-picture approaches that safety executives can take to raise the floor on supervisory safety ability.

7 Essential Soft Skills For Hard Workplace Safety Problems

This safety guide doesn’t solely deal with supervisors and safety, but it can certainly make a big difference in that department. It can also have an impact on the influence that safety managers and other organizational leaders have on the workforce. But in regards to supervisors, 7 Essential Soft Skills For Hard Workplace Safety Problems can offer some key insights into how your team leaders can better engage workers in safety. (An added bonus: the soft skills outlined in the document are also correlated with increased productivity and stronger morale.)

The detailed guide collects seven soft skills that have proven time after time to have an impact on safety outcomes and company culture. It outlines why each of these seven key skills matters in a safety context and then reviews how they can be improved.

Safety and the supervisor: Developing frontline leadership skills to improve safety

Presented by safety expert Chris Ross, this webinar promises to give safety managers and EHS executives deep insight into how they can turn supervisors into shop-floor safety leaders—and it delivers on that promise. It provides details on the proven success factors that frontline leaders require to make a meaningful impact on safety outcomes.

Crucially, Ross also discusses the steps that organizational leaders can take to leverage these success factors to get better results from supervisors. In many ways, this webinar builds on the foundation laid by the article mentioned in the first section above. And in the end, it provides information that can help you unlock the next level in supervisory safety performance.

Skilled supervisors = Safer workplace

There’s no denying that when supervisors have stronger safety skills, workplaces tend to have stronger safety cultures and fewer injuries. This is true for almost any workplace, from aerospace to construction, and from complicated processes in food manufacturing to propane safety issues.

Whether you’re just beginning to evaluate the impact that your company’s frontline leaders have on safety outcomes, or you’re well on your way to evaluating how you can raise the bar for your supervisors’ safety skills, the resources outlined above will help you get more from this key organizational role.

On-demand webinar

Safety and the Supervisor: Developing Frontline Leadership Skills to Improve Safety

Supervisors are the bridge between organizational directives and on-the-ground operations. Their skills and knowledge are critical to a seamless flow of information in both directions and to their organization's safety success. This webinar offers EHS managers and company executives actionable advice on improving safety through leveraging the role of frontline leaders.

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