Q & A: Management Support for Safety
Question: “I don't seem to get full support from the supervisors when it comes to safety. As long as I'm on site they follow thru with most safety policies but once I'm not there they tend to cut short cuts. Example; they don't do tailgate meetings when I'm there not there and they don't fill out their job safety analysis before they start to work when I'm not there. I tend to go and catch certain cruise I have not filled out the job safety analysis properly and are missing employee names signatures.”
Answer: The problem is old attitudes about safety and its value, which means it’s a cultural problem for your organization. Supervisors get excited about things they see as valuable—your supervisors do not value safety. It’s likely they perceive both practices as barriers to getting the work done, or starting their day. Hence, shortcuts, and shortcuts lead to accidents.
So what are your options?
- Go right to upper management and ask for support to change policy or procedures to make tailgate meetings & Job-Hazard Analysis (JHAs) mandatory or tied to performance evaluations—get executive level support, right now.
- Meet with this tier of supervisors for some education on the value of tailgate meetings & Job-Hazard Analysis (JHAs) and to hear their concerns or barriers to getting that stuff done the right way.
- Approach the supervisors with a plan or ideas on how to make both tasks easier or more efficient, without losing the rigor or quality.
- Give your supervisors some better tools with which to accomplish both tasks.
My suggestion is to start with (b). Meet with your supervisors group, ask the questions, then listen and learn. This can build trust and trust necessary to gain their support for changes. In other words, work with them, not against them. You never know what you’ll learn after starting a candid, professional conversation.
Then, move toward (c), (d), (a), with (a) being the last resort.
In the meanwhile, here’s a safety tip you can share with those folks to get creative about this whole situation…