Congratulations! You recently got hired or promoted to the role of a Safety Manager in your workplace and Safety Managements. How exciting! It’s a new challenge, and you’re ready to tackle it face on. However, the sailing is not as smooth as you expected it to be and you’re facing new hurdles daily.
Fret not! In this post, we help you tackle the three common challenges faced by safety managers and provide you with simple but effective solutions to overcome them.
#1: The Biggest Conundrum – Convincing your Management to Spend on Safety Measures
One of the biggest challenges all safety managers irrespective of their industry face is budget allocation or rather the lack of it. Yes, companies are often reluctant to allocate sufficient funds for occupational health and safety (OHS). The main reason for this is that OHS doesn’t have any tangible contribution to the company’s bottom line. However, that doesn’t mean that OHS doesn’t impact the company’s profits.
The only way safety managers can prove the contribution of OHS to the company’s profit is by lowering liability and risks. This often becomes difficult for safety managers to demonstrate as they have a hard time visualising the monetary gains made from decreased liability.
Big corporations can easily cover liability costs in the case of an incident as they have deep pockets. However, the same doesn’t apply to small and mid-sized companies. They don’t have the resources or revenue to address potential liabilities. Because of these financial restrictions, these firms often skip implementing a safety management system, which proves extremely costly in the case of an unfortunate accident.
One of the effective ways to address the above-discussed issue is by providing comprehensive and one-on-one safety management education to senior board members. While there’s no denying the fact that the business owner and other executives know much about handling the various aspects of their business, they may not be aware of how to properly manage the safety by taking proactive measures that reduce the chances of mishaps and accidents.
Once you and the senior executives are on the same page, regarding safety, it won’t be much of an issue getting the necessary funds and resources to carry out your responsibilities.
#2: Safety Managers lack the Authority to Implement Solutions
This is another issue faced by safety managers, especially those operating in small to mid-sized firms. Safety managers, for the most part, do not monitor/supervise any employees, apart from other safety personnel.
This is a major hurdle, especially when implementing new reforms. For instance, if you want all the employees in your firm to check the safety regulations and rules posted on the company’s internal site, there’s no way, you can enforce this strictly.
As a safety manager, you don’t wield any authority over the people you monitor. You aren’t responsible for their reviews or pay raises. This means an employee isn’t compelled in any way to listen to what you’re saying. This leads to a lethargic attitude when it comes to safety.
Deprived of all other means, the safety manager has to resort to his/her charisma and rapport with the employees to ensure that they follow the safety instructions. This becomes a perennial issue in the long run.
The accepted solution to this problem is to distance the company’s management and the Safety Department to avoid any conflicts of interest. Also, safety managers should be given the autonomy and freedom to introduce new policies.
For instance, companies can state that the safety manager’s remark is vital in determining the appraisal report of an employee. Let’s explain this in detail. For instance, the safety department can maintain a record for each employee and assess them on how they follow safety regulations and their overall attitude to safety in the workplace.
This report can then be used by the HR Department to determine the yearly pay raise and along with other appraisal forms. This gives an incentive to employees to follow all the safety rules, and they are much likely to consider safety more seriously.
#3: Nobody likes the Safety Manager. He is neither popular with the employees nor the management.
This is a common problem faced by the safety manager in large corporations as well as small mom-and-pop establishments. There are two potential reasons for this issue.
- The lack of commitment by the management towards safety and improper understanding of the role of safety in the workplace.
- The employees fail to understand the benefits of a safe workplace and have a poor attitude to occupational health and safety.
This is a bit complicated issue and can be addressed only when you rectify the root causes. Just a few years back, a vast majority of companies had a safety department just for the sake of meeting compliance requirements and rules. However, this is no longer true.
With globalization and open markets, more and more international firms are outsourcing their work to Indian companies and partners. One of the primary criteria in choosing outsourcing partners is that they should meet safety standards.
Let’s illustrate this issue with an example. Consider a popular international shoe brand that has partnered with manufacturing factories in China. Let’s assume hypothetically that the manufacturing factory in China has no safety procedures in place and meets with a fatal accident. This causes a bad reputation for the international shoe brand and causes loss of its customers on a global level.
No business wants to suffer this. So, any international firm is doubly conscious when partnering with firms overseas. They want to make sure that the partner meets all safety requirements. So, if your company wants to win overseas contracts, then it’s essential that you meet all Occupational Health and Safety regulations.
As a safety manager, it’s your responsibility to highlight this reason to both employees and management and win them over to your side. Once you get people to realise the impact of safety in the overall revenue of the company, they are likely to improve their attitude to safety rules and regulations.
The Last Word
If these challenges sound familiar, we invite you to get in touch with Totalika, leading Occupational Health and Safety Provider in India. Our Safety Management Experts can help you tackle these and other issues. We can also provide Safety Training to help you build a Safety Conscious workforce thereby reducing your liabilities and improving profits. Get in touch with us by dropping a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or giving us a call at 0124-266-3021/0124-266-3022.