Supervisors Key to Safe Return to Work

June 02 2020
By: Shawn M. Galloway

Pre-COVID-19, few organizations were exceptional with the effectiveness of their first-line supervisors. Historically, most organizational change to affect safety performance has been either top-down or bottom-up, leaving the supervisors squeezed out. Yet, the most important individuals who shape operational performance in any category, as well as occupational culture, are the most undertrained, under-resourced, underutilized, and unaccountable individuals in many companies. In 2020, the challenge not only remains, but it is amplified and will be a contributing factor to operational issues of all kinds, including safety incidents.

As corporations are beginning to either start back up or return to normal operations, the forward-thinking are taking time to first align and resource their front-line leaders. Work design has changed in many areas. New information needs to be conveyed without relying on the standard communication channels or methods. As with any change, humans respond emotionally before logically. With the state of things currently, emotions are high and the distractions remain. How prepared are your leaders on the front line?

Before bringing back your crews to full-time operations, consider bringing back in your leaders of people, especially the first-line supervisors. Ensure they have the tools to set your workforce up for success and a safe return to work.

Shawn M. Galloway

Shawn M. Galloway, President and COO of ProAct Safety is a consultant, professional speaker and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership and Behavior-Based Safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having authored over 600 podcasts, 200 articles and 100 videos. Shawn's consulting clients span across all major industries, internationally. He has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals Council on Practices & Standards, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 — Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow and Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers of 2019.