Getting Buy In for Safety

 By Bob Lapidus, CSP (Retired), CSMS

You have just been hired to create and implement a comprehensive safety program for an organization.  What do you do?


1. Take it easy; don’t be in a rush.
2. Find out management’s expectations of you and your function.  Such knowledge should actually be obtained prior to accepting the position.
3. Identify the style of management of the various managers and the organization.  All safety efforts need to fit the individual styles.
4. Meet all the people.
5. Listen.
6. Seek to learn names, titles and what people actually do.
7. Get to know all the functions of the organization and what each function does.
8. Listen.
9. Analyze the kinds of losses the organization has sustained.
10. Discover the organization’s risks and loss exposures.
11. Find out what safety programs and activities the organization has in place and how effective they have been.
12. Listen.
13. Prior to initiating new efforts, get input from people who will be affected.  Involve them in the process so they will buy into the new activities.
14. Have folks evaluate the effort so you can make positive changes to attain improved performance.
15. Listen again and again . . .


Yes, listening is listed four times in the above list.  There is, of course, a reason for that.  Listening requires concentration so that your brain processes meaning from words and sentences.  Knowing expectations, from where people are coming, and understanding the nuances of what is going on in the organization is critical to your success.  Most new employees, from the top of the organization to the bottom, come in with their own agendas thinking they will perform as they want to perform without comprehending what is wanted by management and how employees feel about the organization and how it works.  Both big and little issues comprise safety success.  It’s not just the safety effort.  It’s how we communicate with the people in the organization.


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For More Information:

Go to www.safetycenter.org for more information about Safety Center’s Safety Management Specialist Certificate.

After completing this nine-day program, graduates may take the exam to achieve the Certified Safety Management Specialist (CSMS) designation. Recipients of the CSMS receive a beautiful plaque and become part of an elite group of safety specialists who have achieved this recognition.  Once this certification is attained, successful candidates keep it for the rest of their lives without any additional requirements or fees.