THE CRITICAL IMPORTANCE OF MANAGEMENT LEADERSHIP IN SAFETY
By Gary W. Hanson, President of American Safety and Health Management Consultants, Inc.

Senior management is the single most important aspect in an effective safety program.
Without visible, enthusiastic and focused management leadership, no safety program will be
able to help contribute to the overall company’s efforts to be successful, grow and make a
profit. Employees watch what management does as well as what management says. If they
sense a lack of commitment to the safety program they will not believe in it. If they do not
believe in the program, bad safety habits will be developed and once developed these bad
habits are extremely hard to break.

Many companies fail to recognize the critical importance of management leadership. There
are many reasons for this:

 Traditionally safety has not been thought of as a vital management function.
 Some companies only equate safety with OSHA compliance.
 Some companies see safety as an added expense instead of contributing to the
profitability of the company.
 Safety simply isn’t as exciting as other management activities.
 There are other pressing matters that limits the time available for safety.
Companies that have an effective program do not accept these excuses. These companies
understand the value of a good safety program. They provide the necessary active leadership
to ensure the program is successful. In these companies management:
 Committed to the safety program.
 Ensures necessary resources are provided to guarantee the program is implemented
and administered effectively.
 Holds all supervisors and employees accountable.
 Understands that accidents are preventable.
 Corrects unsafe conditions and behavior.
 Takes and active role in the safety program and communicates this to all employees.
 Leaders by example and follows all safety rules.
 Rewards and recognizes supervisors and employees.

Good safety programs do not happen by accident, they happen because management is
committed to making the program work and provides the everyday leadership and direction.
Active leadership is critical to ensure the safety program achieves its primary purpose of
protecting the company’s most vital assets.

If you have any questions or need assistance with your safety program, please call American
Safety & Health Management Consultants, Inc., at 800-356-1274.

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