The Six Essential Traits for Good Safety Leadership

Safety leadership in the workplace is an important skill to develop regardless of your experience and position. Leadership itself is not a position; it is an attitude and a mindset that individuals bring to work every day. Safety leadership has a list of parts and traits necessary to be effective and long-lasting. Here are the six essential characteristics and actions you need to take to be a successful safety leader, whether you’re a first-time employee or a veteran employer.


  1. Remember: if nobody is talking, then nobody is listening. If nobody is listening, instructions are missed and people can get hurt. Communication does not only exist in the form of scolding and lectures. Instead, it involves conversation and consistent interaction. Communicate everything from safety hazards to workplace concerns.


  1. Leadership requires confidence—there’s no way around it. If a worker lacks confidence while performing a potentially hazardous job, others are put at risk. If you are not confident in your work, you are distracted.


  1. Honesty has two components: accountability and responsibility. If you deny accountability, you lack honesty. If you don’t know how to perform a certain task, speak up; you can’t fix what you don’t know, and sometimes that can be dangerous.


  1. No matter the job or adversity you are facing, you must always keep a positive attitude. This allows you to see what needs to be addressed and take action rather than wallowing in fear. If you can’t find a reason to be positive about a situation, it is likely unsafe. Discuss this with your staff and/or supervisor.


  1. Commitment. Commit to the job you were assigned; you’ll feel prouder of your achievements, work, and daily grind. If you’re not committed to a job, you’re not committed to doing that job safely. The more committed you are, the more confident you will become.


  1. Invest all your focus in your surroundings. This allows you to see what is coming and prepare for it. Observe first, internalize the situation, then act. This will allow you to address potential safety concerns before they become issues.