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What does a Safety Manager do?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 17, 2024
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A safety manager works on job sites and in businesses to prevent accidents. He or she is also called a risk manager since the workplace or job site must be assessed for health and safety risks before preventive or corrective measures can be implemented. Every corrective or preventive action a safety manager takes must comply with the law.

Attending health and safety seminars such as those held by government organizations is required, so safety managers may travel as part of their job. They may also travel between the main office of a corporation to different work sites. A safety manager determines the risk that working in a specific environment poses, then implements protection policies and procedures for workers. For instance, at a construction site with airborne dust issues, the safety or risk manager may decide that wearing face masks will adequately protect the workers. Safety managers don't make such decisions lightly or without research; however, they must also act quickly so as to minimize any health risk to employees.

Writing reports is a main part of a safety manager's job. Every work site evaluation and measure implemented must be recorded in detail. Risk managers must explain in their reports why they made a certain protective decision, such as that it was done to comply with a specific law or to address an identified safety problem. Safety managers typically prepare their reports on a computer and are expected to have reasonable technical skills.

When an accident or injury occurs in the company, the safety manager must investigate and report on the incident. He or she must also work with insurance investigators and other professionals. Safety management must also provide and implement post-injury follow-up procedures for workers.

Safety or risk managers create workplace programs as well as company policies. For example, it's usually a safety manager who will make it mandatory for company employees to wear steel-toed work boots or other protective gear. Employees may be required to participate in safety conferences. The risk manager will typically have literature printed that relates to safe work practices to hand out to meeting attendees.

A risk manager often delegates administrative tasks to a safety coordinator who reports to him or her. While the safety manager makes the main policy decisions, the coordinator may implement and communicate them throughout the company. Safety managers often meet with department heads to discuss important policy changes that affect employees in terms of how they must conduct work activities. A risk manager also works with department heads to ensure proper employee training that meets new safety requirements is carried out.

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Discussion Comments
By ifpbdo — On Nov 07, 2012

I was looking for a safety and security organizational chart example for an industrial group with more than one facility in one area (facilities are located in different areas and countries).

Any help in this field would be much appreciated.

Job descriptions also can help set the proper line of reports, for example, who does what and when.

By jessica500 — On Apr 28, 2011

@scifreak- I recently took a safety manager position at the factory where I work. I was shocked at how unorganized the person who did the job before me was. Immediately I began an overhaul of the system that he had in place.

Now, 4 months later, things are better and I feel the workers are safer. We also have better communication.

You are right-if your husband feels unsafe, he should not hesitate to call OSHA. They can call a safety manager out to his workplace to investigate and get the factory onto a safer path. They cannot punish you for calling OSHA.

By scifreak — On Apr 26, 2011

Hopefully they have a safety management system in place at where my husband works. He just got this job 3 weeks ago, and he says the communication there is bad.

What worries me is that the job is dangerous. The factory is small with not much room to move around. There is welding always taking place on the second floor with sparks flying all around. From what my husband says, the place is just unsafe in general. I told him to be careful and not to be afraid to contact OSHA if necessary. Better to be safe than sorry later.

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