HOW TO SPOT A GREAT SAFETY PROFESSIONAL
1. IDENTIFYING THE HIDDEN HAZARDS
Identifying the obvious and hidden hazards is crucial to success as a safety professional. Here are a few ways to identify a candidate that can spot a hazard effectively:
- Listening to Employees. The most important step to spotting any hazard. A strong safety professional will listen to the field employees to understand what that person does, why, and the challenges they face.
- Investigating Incidents. Reviewing what went wrong is one of the most effective ways to avoid future hazards. A great safety professional knows that the purpose of investigating an injury has as much to do with the future as it does with the particular incident.
- Spends Time in the Field. A safety professional that takes the time to go out in the plant to understand and roll out policies will always be more effective than someone who merely sits in their office. Look for people who are willing to get out and see those hazards first hand.
A safety professional needs to be a skilled communicator in order to perform their responsibilities effectively. Safety professionals are often responsible for building buy-in from senior leadership and from the production employees responsible for operating the equipment in the field. Consider the following to spot a strong communicator:
- Resume quality. Does the resume reflect skills or achievements consistent with what is needed for the position? Does the resume contain recent training or results? All of these things reflect the person’s ability to communicate important information.
- Cover letter. Does the cover letter have typos? Or, is it clear why the person is interested in your position?
- Social media. Check the person out on social media. Someone with a lackluster (or worse, inappropriate) presence on LinkedIn should be a strong red flag.
Safety is frequently driven by 2 opposing finance considerations – to keep claims down and the spending to do so. A great safety manager knows how to cost-effectively build a strong safety culture. Look for the following to spot a safety manager that has strong budgeting or financial skills:
- Workers’ Compensation. Safety professionals managing these claims will work across departments (often with HR and finance) and with the workers’ compensation carriers are driven to bring down one of the biggest cost centers.
- Budget Responsibility. Having responsibility for all or part of the safety department budget can mean that the person knows the costs in the market and can quickly build a practical budget for the role in your company.
- Consulting Experience. People who have been responsible for serving clients and/or some form of business development know that cost is a big driver in closing a profitable deal. This means the safety professional with consulting experience brings a unique ability to cost-effectively reach a solution.
A great safety professional knows how to build a training program and how to present that program to employees. They also know that high-quality training is more than lecturing employees in a conference room. Here are a few ways to spot the resume of a safety professional that can lead the safety program to success:
- Learning management systems (LMS) experience. Finding the right training program off the shelf is challenging. But, a great safety professional knows how to find a close fit and how to work within their resources to build new custom content as needed.
- Public speaking. Presenting training to a group of 2 to a group of 100 means that the safety professional has to get up in front of the group. People who are comfortable with this role will reflect their safety training experience on their resume.
- Tracking. Whether it is a spreadsheet or a database, a great safety professional will build or enhance the existing system to help employees stay current with all safety training to remain compliant with the requirements for that role.
Safety professionals are perpetual problem solver responsible for tackling a range of challenges. A great safety professional knows how to build buy-in from resistant plant managers and how to respond to regulatory inspections while minimizing future liability. This requires the ability to dig into a problem and find practical solutions quickly. A few things to look for when trying to spot a great safety professional:
- Diverse background. A candidate that has worked in a variety of industries throughout their career has been forced to learn new skills and safety techniques in each role. This means the person can learn quickly and solve problems.
- Results. A resume containing clear achievements in the safety field is reflective of a strong safety professional. (Not sure how to capture these achievements? Check out how to write a resume to beat the ATS).
- OSHA interaction. Anyone with demonstrated ability to successfully respond to surprise inspections or citations definitely has strong problem-solving skills.
A great safety professional has extensive experience in investigating the root cause and identifying the fault in any incident. This takes the ability to methodically work through any situation to understand what happened and why. Here are a few ways to spot this ability on the resume of a safety professional:
- Workers’ Compensation. Managing workers compensation claims well requires extensive experience in determining the causation of an injury.
- Reporting. Preparing reports to senior leadership, clients, or insurance carriers require the ability to investigate and compile business data in a meaningful manner.
- Communicating Trends. The ability to communicate trends to senior leadership and people in the field requires the safety professional to first identify the trends. This means the person knows how to dig in and find the right information.
A strong safety culture starts and ends with a safety professional that demonstrates accountability. First, a great safety professional demonstrates the best practices in safety in all aspects of their performance. Second, a great safety professional will hold other people accountable for safety. This can be the most challenging and most important part of any safety role. Here are a few ways to spot accountability on the resume of a great safety professional:
- Results. Listing important results on their resume means that they know what it takes to limit risk.
- Industry Knowledge. Someone who brings industry knowledge will be able to immediately jump into the role and build buy-in.
- Hands-on Approach. Any safety professional that is willing to get out in the field will understand what is actually needed to succeed to keep people safe on the job.
Need help finding a great safety professional? Or, are you a safety professional that needs help finding your next challenge? The experienced recruiters at the Contingent Plan are always connecting great safety professionals with employers across industries. Contact us to get started today!