The first line supervisor is an important link between the safety management teams and on ground work-forces. His role is crucial in implementing a successful safety culture. His behavior plays a crucial role in enhancing workplace safety that could lead to productive project execution. What are the characteristics that will decide his efficiency and performance? This post delves into some of the critical aspects of Supervisor behavior that helps build a safe work environment for the work forces.
The First line supervisor has a strong impact on workers for workplace accident prevention, so it is necessary for organizations to educate the first line supervisor with the gravity or seriousness of workplace safety. It is the responsibility of the management to provide authority and available training resources to the Supervisor so that he can train the work force in the best possible manner. The supervisor can show them the importance of safety behaviour at work place. Because of his frequent interaction with his team, the first line supervisor’s activity, decision strategy and his feedback towards subordinate performance plays a major role.
One perspective that determines productive behavior of a first line supervisor is the “3 Cs view”;
Confluence: How does he converge and achieve organizational safety goals? What methods does he adopt for correcting faulty work practices?
Commitment: What is the first line supervisor’s attitude and commitment towards safety?
Communication: What are the ways in which he communicates with his team for executing safety work practices
The safety management teams need to ensure that they make the first line supervisor understand and align him to the overall companies’ safety goals. As an important cog in the wheel, the supervisor can act as a productive catalyst in translating the companies’ safety culture effectively at the ground level. Every attempt should be made to ensure that he is contributing one hand forward towards improvement of workplace safety. He must be made aware of the dire consequences in the event of an unsafe act. Moreover, his views are extremely important when aligning him with the organization’s safety goals as he is the best judge of implementing strategies that could be adopted for building safe work environments.
A first line supervisor needs to stay committed to improve workplace safety at all times. It is a well known fact that people do what they see and not what they are told. The safety Culture that a supervisor imbibes will reflect in the team that he leads. Hence it is important that he aligns with the companies’ overall goals of safety and shows his commitment to it through his habits. Workplace accident prevention has got to be the goal of not just the management but eventually translate to his team as well.
The best way to communicate with the work forces at the ground level is through the Supervisor. He can ensure that the importance of appropriate and correct behavior reaches the workforces accurately. Depending on the choice of attitude, he can use an overly autocratic method to pass the message or motivational (more humane) methods for communicating with his team. Most supervisors in India would use forceful methods for getting work done and the same translates when communicating for safety as well. Menial punishments / reprimands are given by the supervisor to drive home the message.
The first line supervisor (catalyst) needs to be provided with enough authority and power to make sure that the safety messages and vision is translated through to the work forces on the ground. From the management point-of-view, all tools can be made available to ensure an efficient and productive result.
Safety movies / animation safety movies are used as a very effective and convenient tool for communicating with work forces at the ground level. The digital medium passes the message seamlessly and breaks any language barriers or challenges that management might face in training them.
What other tools can facilitate the supervisor in ensuring the best results are got out of work-forces? What are your views on behavioral patterns that help the first line supervisor?