A Supervisor's Guide to Safety Leadership

  A Supervisor's Guide to Safety Leadership

A Supervisor's Guide to Safety Leadership

Julie Terling helped keep the content real and readable. Laura Lee Glass fixed my grammatical gaffs and inconsistencies. Lisa Smith made the book look beautiful. I am also indebted to all of the clients I have had the privilege to work with over the years. I learned from all of you.

Finally, I want to thank my family for their love and support. My mom Joyce, my brother Blaine, and my sister Claire always cheer me on. My father Hinds, I think, would be proud.

My wonderful husband Bruce encourages me and picks up the slack when my work takes me away. And my amazing children, Matthew and Kianna—watching them become thoughtful, intelligent, kind, funny, and loving people has been the greatest joy in my life.

The short answer is because lives depend on your safety leadership. The long answer has to do with your critical role in this complex thing called safety.A safe workplace takes a coordinated effort on the part of all employees.

Senior leaders establish safety-oriented vision and values; middle managers put into effect safety management systems, procedures, and accountability; and frontline employees complete the work as safely as possible. Frontline supervisors have perhaps the most crucial role—they are the linchpinsof safety.

Wikipedia defines the word linchpin as “something (or someone) that holds the various elements of a complicated structure together.” Frontline supervision is where safety comes together, where the vision and values are executed, where procedures are complied with, where decisions are implemented, and where safety can be seen. It is the moment-by-moment decisions and actions of the frontline supervisor that ensure the safety of frontline performers.

Linchpins have to be strong. There are pressures from every direction: your boss, your peers, and your direct reports. There are pressures around all of the key performance indicators: production, quality, customer service, employee satisfaction, and of course, safety. The list of responsibilities is long and frontline supervisors are pushed and pulled every day. It is easy to get distracted by seemingly competing priorities.

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