The Importance of Safety Leadership in the Workplace

With health and safety being such an important aspect of a workplace, ensuring it is correctly managed is crucial. A workplace safety policy not only protects people on site from harm, but also prevents damage to the buildings on site, the organization’s assets, and also their reputation.

Safety leadership is a critical role in a workplace, with one or more employees overseeing the safety measures which helps introduce the tone for organizational safety culture. These employees will be responsible for establishing safety policies and procedures in line with  OSHA regulations, keeping up to date with regulation changes using sources such as GHS Forum, and providing the necessary safety products to create a safe working environment.

Without this, the consequences on workplace safety can be severe, meaning employees are more likely to be injured, or even killed.

When a business is looking to appoint a safety leader or team, their responsibilities must be taken seriously and sufficient training should be provided. To successfully implement safety leadership, here are the 3 main outcomes which should be achieved:

Comprehensive safety policies and procedures

A thorough risk assessment should be carried out and regularly reviewed to stay on top of any hazards in the workplace, implementing solutions before they have time to pose a risk to employees. Leadership is responsible for implementing any necessary safety policies across the organization, ensuring that all employees are aware of these and are complying with the procedures which have been implemented. Ongoing duties will include carrying out training on how to use safety equipment, what PPE is necessary for their role, and how to respond to emergencies.

Sufficient safety equipment and resources

A business has a responsibility to provide the resources to support a safe working environment, so the safety leader is in charge of ensuring there is enough stock of these. Employees who are working in hazardous environments should be provided with safety equipment such as hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, and any necessary PPE. Safety leadership means ensuring that this equipment is always available to each person who needs it and that it is well maintained and replaced if damaged. As well as clothing, safety equipment should also be provided which is accessible in the event of an emergency, providing first aid kits, eye wash stations, and fire extinguishers to ensure employees can respond quickly to any unexpected problems.

Improved safety culture in the workplace

Safety leaders must lead with safe behavior and hold all employees accountable for following the procedures in place, not tolerating behavior that does not comply with the policy and puts employees at risk. A good leader will demonstrate the importance of safety and train employees on how to carry out their roles safely, gradually shaping the workplace culture. In workplaces where safety is not seen as a priority, employees can be tempted to cut corners or take risks, so a strong yet strict culture must be created.

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