The Role of Front Line Managers in Improving Safety
Many authors have confirmed the important role that front line managers play in managing different organizational processes. Their practices and behaviors have a strong impact on their employees and their commitment to the organization. Furthermore, their roles can be very challenging, as they must balance the demands of production or service requirements on one hand, and comply with organization instructions regarding staff management on the other.
This would suggest that in an already complex job, having to manage safety practices and safety related behaviors in the workplace can be seen as role overload. It would therefore be important to ensure that managers are making safety their top priority in order to meet their productivity and production demands and essentially reduce incident rates.
Managers play a crucial role in developing safe workers in the workplace since they have the closest contact with employees. A vast array of research exists to support this statement. It has been found that one of the main factors that gets in the way of properly managing safety practices in the workplace is the manager's failure to adequately prioritize safety.
Managerial Safety Training
It has been suggested that front line managers have traditionally been promoted into their roles because they were highly competent in their own jobs, not because of their expertise in managing safety and different areas within Human Resources that deal with safety related behaviors and practices in the workplace. This may mean that they are not sufficiently supplied with materials and resources on how to carry out all the required tasks and duties surrounding safety in the workplace.
Managers may not feel as though they are sufficiently skilled or knowledgeable in the applications of safety and safety related behaviors and thus could strongly benefit from safety coaching. Safety coaching can be useful tool in guiding managers to instill safer work practices in their workers. When managers feel confident and knowledgeable in safety promotion plans, they can more easily make safety a priority and thus consequently create safer work environments.
Safety coaching provides an avenue where workers and managers can meet together in a one on one or small group setting to ensure that workers feel supported in their undertaking of becoming safer workers. When workers feel as though they are supported by their managers, they are more likely to make safety a priority in their day to day work life and as a result become safer workers.