Sept 16, 2019
The 2019 National Safety Survey exposes the difficulties environmental, health, and safety leaders face keeping their employees safe in the workplace.
Safety leaders have had to wear a lot of hats (and not just of the hard-hat kind), and there’s not even a general description that incorporates everything they do. We experience this reality because when we asked respondents to the 2019 National Safety Survey for their position titles, we got nearly as many distinct answers as we had individuals in the study. While “safety manager,” “EHS manager” and “safety director” (or modifications of the same) were the most commonly cited, there were hundreds of different job titles out of the over 1,500 responses we collected, covering the range from “regional fire & life safety officer” to “senior risk control consultant” to “principal regulatory compliance specialist” to “ergonomist” to “president.” And what do these safety leadership positions even do? We asked them what fields they are individually accountable for managing, and while just almost everyone (93%) said “safety,” there were a lot of other operations they’re connected to also. Occupational health and risk management are both areas where at least 65% of the survey takers are engaged. And at least 50% are connected to things like emergency management, ergonomics, environmental compliance, and industrial hygiene. In many cases, numerous respondents said they take on the role of a human resource as well as being a safety leader. We also discovered a lot of “analyst” and “technician” job roles among the safety survey takers, and that comes as no shock, considering the safety leader's shift into a more tech-focused job. It’s certain that as the manufacturing and distribution enterprises frequently turn to automation and robotics to create and ship goods and services, safety leaders are moreover in charge with not only maintaining the safety of their workforces in these high-tech environments, but to become more informed about these newer technologies, and how they can be applied to enhanced safety promotion. With input from more than 1,500 safety leaders, we’re able to put together a complete understanding of what a “typical safety leader” resembles. For instance, safety leaders by and large are content with their positions and their participation in the safety culture of their companies: 79% say they are both “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their prevailing situations, and 82% say they are either “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the environmental health and safety profession as a career path. This shouldn't come as a surprise in this survey due to the rewarding nature of safety leadership. Keeping those in your organization safe is a challenging job with many rewards. You'll have the benefit of knowing your workers return home safely to their families. Whether it's within a daily check-in or regular Toolbox Talks, the need for safety leadership has never been greater. Engagement and action from younger safety specialists seems to be wanting. In the upcoming decade, there will be many safety leaders retiring from the workforce. Will the subsequent generation of safety experts be up to the challenge? Why do so many organizations still fail to develop a solid safety culture?
Dave Blanchard | Sep 16, 2019 The 2019 National Safety Survey reveals the challenges EHS leaders face keeping their workers and workplaces safe.
Safety leaders have had to wear a lot of hats (and not just of the hard-hat variety) for many years, and there’s not even a common description that encompasses all they do. We know this for a fact, because when we asked respondents to EHS Today’s 2019 National Safety Survey for their job titles, we got almost as many different answers as we had participants in the survey. While “safety manager,” “EHS manager” and “safety director” (or variations thereof) were the most frequently mentioned, there were literally hundreds of unique job titles out of the 1,507 responses we received, running the gamut from “regional fire & life safety officer” to “senior risk control consultant” to “principal regulatory compliance specialist” to “ergonomist” to “president.”
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