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Effective involvement of supervisors in your safety management system

April 29, 2015 Melissa Kephart, CSP

Safety staff are in a unique position when compared to their counterparts in Occupational Health or Industrial Hygiene. Many of the responsibilities of the safety department are carried out by employees that have no professional safety accreditation: the front line supervisors. This is a situation that is not experienced in other fields, and it can be both a source of challenges and a major strength.

This paper will discuss why involvement of supervisors is vital to the success of a safety management system (SMS), detail steps you can take to increase the impact of their actions, and highlight common mistakes that safety professionals make when working with this undervalued asset.

The paper discusses how safety staff should avoid:

  • Pushing down tasks without explanation – failing to communicate the value of completion or the risks of avoidance.
  • Holding supervisors accountable when things go wrong (and only when things go wrong).
  • Creating a safety management system that is difficult to implement, without any early-stage involvement from supervisors.

About the Author

Melissa Kephart, CSP

Melissa Kephart, CSP is a Client Service Consultant for Medgate providing consultation to clients in the areas of implementation planning, work process review, training, and sustaining support. Prior to working with Medgate, Melissa was a management consultant providing safety and industrial hygiene expertise to senior-level government managers. Melissa has extensive experience in custom OHS software development, agency-level safety program management, and Voluntary Protection Programs.

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