A Word About the Disaster In West, TX
The disaster in the community of West,TX reminded us of what happens when companies do not follow safety standards and government officials fail to enforce them – Lives are lost and adversely impacted. Our prayers and thoughts go out to the victims and their families especially to the first responders who bravely fought the fire until the end.
Why These Job Skills Are Important For Safety Professionals
Over the next decade safety professionals will be in high demand because companies and governments can no longer afford to deal with the aftermath of accidents and disasters, like explosions, that could have been prevented. In response to the rise in these positions, we decided to explore what skills employers want in the safety professionals. Here are some of our findings .
- The ability to create and implement safety programs across cultures: One of my clients recently said,“What works in Peoria, IL may not work in Pune, India. I need a safety manager who understands that concept.” In the global workplace, there is no such thing as a “cookie cutter” safety program. Safety professionals have to be sensitive to the cultures, communication styles and languages of the people across their companies because miscommunication can lead to disasters. Companies will be looking for safety professionals who understand how to deliver and manage multicultural programs.
- Ability to understand, communicate and implement new government regulations: OSHA, EPA, Homeland Security and state government agencies change safety regulations on a regular basis. It is up to the Safety professionals to understand these rules and implement them in a way that is easily adopted by their company's workflow and culture.
- Incident Response Management & Situational Leadership: “When it comes to emergency response, safety managers have to have nerves of steel and the mind of a battlefield commander.” The West Fertilizer plant explosion, Fukushima Daiichi nuclear incident and the BP oil spill have brought incident response management and situational leadership to the forefront in the corporate board room, the media and the general public. Successful safety professionals will need training and experience in these areas to handle complex emergencies and intense media scrutiny.
- The ability to communicate the savings of safety programs in financial terms: Safety professionals must be able to communicate the benefits of their safety programs in financial terms such as Return on Investment (ROI), Triple Bottom Line (3BL) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR). Communicating in these terms will help assure corporate managers that investments in safety equipment and programs are not only protecting the lives of their workers but averting the chance of large financial losses due to accident related insurance payouts as well.
- A strong understanding of Workplace Psychology: Safety professionals have to understand how and why workers and managers "overlook" or "shortcut" safety procedures in order to make their training more effective and take steps to correct behaviors that could lead to an incident.
- A strong understanding of Root Cause Analysis and Accident Investigation: The CSI television series have popularized forensics and accident investigations. Like CSI, safety professionals have to investigate how and why an incident occurred and develop new procedures and protocols to avert future incidents.
A Point to Remember About Becoming A Safety Professional
One important point to remember about being a competent safety professional is remembering that the profession is about protecting people.
- HR Professionals Look for the CIH Certification when Filling Positions (environmental-expert.com)
- Behavior-based safety incentive programs: what works? (mysafetysign.com)
- 'Red flag': Excess of chemical eyed at Texas plant (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- Texas fertilizer company didn't heed disclosure rules (news.yahoo.com)