The Role of Each Management Level in Your Safety Program

The Role of Each Management Level in Your Safety Program

Management commitment is one of the strongest contributors to an effective safety program. If this is an area of opportunity for your company, know that it won’t happen overnight. Here are some steps that individuals can take to show the company that safety is important at all levels of the organization.


Senior and Executive Management

  1. Determine and communicate a goal to reduce the incident frequency rate by a certain percentage within a set timeframe. Set goals for the company as well as each division or department.
  2. Celebrate with the company meets its overall goal. Also celebrate the department with the best incident frequency reduction.
  3. Make regular visits to operations to focus solely on safety.Show verbal support for safety by asking safety-related questions and commenting on positive safety observations.
  4. Make sure that if safety violations are observed, supervisors or line managers are held accountable. Progressive discipline should be used.
  5. Create goals for completion of safety observations and near-miss reports per week for each level of management listed below. Measure completion of goals to create accountability.
    1. President
    2. General Manager
    3. Production Manager
    4. Superintendents
    5. Foremen
  6. Require the safety staff to write quarterly safety objectives.
  7. Review accomplishment of prior quarterly objectives at the beginning of each quarter.
  8. Conduct a management review of each injury case. The review should include the department manager, supervisor, safety staff and company executive. The purpose is to determine corrective action necessary to prevent recurrence.
  9. Regularly attend and participate in safety meetings (gangway meetings, daily shop meetings, monthly superintendent meetings, etc.).
  10. Meet informally twice per month with safety staff to discuss problems and successes.
  11. Establish and chair an executive safety steering committee. Appoint senior managers or department managers to serve on the committee. Hold all safety steering committee members accountable for safety responsibilities discussed in monthly committee meetings.


Safety Staff

Having a competent safety staff demonstrates that the company is committed to having a proactive incident prevention program.  

  1. Continually communicate all incident rate reduction goals to department managers and supervisors. Publicize status of goals (using signage, emails, etc.) to keep everyone aware of progress.
  2. Improve incident trend tracking to determine objectives and activity for the safety department.
  3. Set quarterly safety staff objectives. Review with executive management initially and seek their approval. Review accomplishments with executive management at the end of each quarter.
  4. Conduct formal safety inspections at least monthly in each shop or work area.
  5. Develop a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) for each task in the company.
  6. Create safety staff visibility in all company operations. Strive to be in the field at least 80% of each work week.
  7. Meet informally with executive management to discuss objectives and list of safety work projects.
  8. Prepare monthly executive safety steering committee topics.
  9. Insure crane and lifting gear certifications are up-to-date and evidence of certification is accessible.
  10. Keep a running list of recommendations or improvements and provide it to other departments to encourage compliance.
  11. Create a systematic corrective action classification system using a risk assessment matrix to rank the likelihood of serious injury or property loss if corrective action is not made.



Supervisors are critical to improving the safety performance of any company. They are responsible for day-to-day processes to ensure work gets completed on time and in safe manner. Managers and supervisors must be held accountable by executive management for implementing and enforcing the safety policies for a company. When they are not held accountable, a company will consistently experience a high frequency in incidents among workers.

  1. Perform regular safety inspections of work area at least daily. Correct any unsafe conditions at the time of the inspection. If the condition cannot be corrected immediately, temporary measures should be taken to avoid injury to employees.
  2. Seek support from the safety staff on technical safety issues or needed employee training.
  3. Complete proper training on the inspection process and expect to be held accountable for performance.
  4. Demonstrate commitment to safety through visual and verbal support of safety rules and procedures and safety inspections of any areas of responsibility.
  5. Maintain a safe work are by immediately correcting any unsafe condition or at-risk behavior.
  6. Portray to employees that safety is important. Set the example by not only following the rules but also enforcing them daily.
  7. Pre-plan for work processes, layout or order of work to increase work area safety.


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