As a safety manager, you are part salesman, part policeman and part cheerleader.
You need to convince your employees that every program and procedure is designed with their best interest in mind, and nothing is a waste of time.
You are the eyes and ears of the entire organization. An effective safety manager builds buy-in from everyone by seeking input and recognizing good behaviors as well as pointing out concerns.
As if all this isn’t enough, it’s also your job to be the bookkeeper.
You’re expected to keep records of all safety training, manuals and audits, from lockout/tagout procedures to material safety data sheets. If you feel like you’re drowning in paperwork, you’re not alone. In a poll by Safety News Alert, safety managers cited keeping up with regulations among their top three concerns, following the challenges of getting senior management to buy into safety and getting cooperation from employees, their primary concern.
The good news is that there’s help available.
An integrated safety software allows you to manage all your company’s documents and records in one place, eliminating the need for shelves full of three-ring binders.
Here are five other ways it can make your life easier.
It improves employee access to information.
How many times have you heard an employee say, “I don’t remember if I was trained on that,” or “I can’t find the manual for it”? If you’re still keeping those files locked away in your office, you’re wasting their time and yours. Worse, if it’s unnecessarily difficult for employees to find the procedures they need, there’s a risk they’ll bypass them altogether. A safety software allows them to easily find what they need just by logging onto a computer. You can customize their access, allowing them to see what’s most relevant to their job and assigning administrator privileges to others.
It tracks incidents.
A good safety software allows you to document and manage OSHA reportable and recordable incidents, as well as near misses. You’ll be able to report them immediately and document how your company responded with corrective action. With the right software, you should be able to upload all information relevant to the investigation, including photos, sketches, witness statements and notes. You should be able to use search features to analyze trends about these incidents—so when your senior management asks if you really need those hard decking platforms you’ve been pushing, you can point to the number of dropped objects that could have been prevented last year.
It reminds you of deadlines.
As the safety manager, you’re keeping track of dozens of programs, each with its own training requirements and auditing schedule. By storing all your policies and procedures on one database, you can easily see upcoming deadlines and schedule audits as needed. You’ll never be caught without a safety update at your weekly management meeting again.
It arms you with confidence in your next OSHA inspection.
No matter how many years of experience you have under your belt, a visit from the state can cause your blood pressure to spike if you’re not prepared. Knowing your company’s safety records are current and complete will go a long way to ease that anxiety. Clean inspections reduce your risk of regulatory fines and legal fees.
It makes safety everyone’s responsibility, not just yours.
As a safety manager, you’re constantly fighting negative perceptions stacked against you since the inception of your profession. Too often, workers still view the safety manager as someone who just gets in the way, making it harder for them to do their jobs. An article in Safety + Health, the official magazine of the National Safety Council, recommends regularly engaging workers in safety discussions and asking for feedback to gain their trust. Workers who feel your company makes their safety the top priority will take steps to stay safe for the right reasons.
You can use your safety software to keep employees informed about recently observed trends and incidents that could have been prevented. Use these observations to educate, rather than blame. If you can point to a specific instance where a hard hat protected someone from being seriously injured by a dropped wrench, you won’t need to consistently remind them to wear personal protective equipment. They’ll remind each other to stay safe because the risks are real, not just because you’re watching.
In addition to making your job easier, an integrated safety software system can go a long way to improve safety culture at your workplace.
BasicSafe is one such system that is easy to use and affordable for small businesses. To learn about other ways to be more efficient, download our free eBook, "9 Ways to Make Your Job as a Safety Manager Easier."