Career Development

What Does a Safety Manager Do?

Find out what a safety manager does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a safety manager.

Safety managers are responsible for ensuring that their company or organization is safe and hazard-free. They commonly do this by developing, implementing, and overseeing safety policies and procedures. They may also be tasked with conducting training programs to ensure that all employees know how to safely perform their jobs.

Safety Manager Job Duties

A safety manager typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Reviewing safety procedures and recommending changes to improve safety performance
  • Conducting regular safety audits of the workplace to identify hazards and risks
  • Reviewing employee medical records to ensure they are up to date and accurate
  • Developing safety training programs for employees on topics such as first aid, hazardous materials handling, fire safety, and ergonomics
  • Conducting investigations into workplace accidents to determine cause and prevent future accidents from occurring
  • Monitoring employee attendance to ensure workers are at their posts when needed
  • Overseeing the development and implementation of safety policies and procedures to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements
  • Reporting any unsafe conditions or practices to supervisors or occupational health and safety (OHS) specialists for corrective action
  • Developing plans for emergency response in case of natural disasters or other emergencies

Safety Manager Salary & Outlook

Safety managers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses or commissions.

  • Median Annual Salary: $76,500 ($36.78/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of safety managers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Employment growth will be driven by the need for safety managers to oversee the implementation of new safety regulations and policies. In addition, continued concerns about workplace safety and liability issues will lead to demand for these workers in manufacturing industries.

Safety Manager Job Requirements

A safety manager typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Safety managers are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in safety, health, risk management or a related field. Some employers prefer to hire candidates with a master’s degree in safety management.

Training & Experience: Many employers will require candidates to have at least five years of experience in a safety-related position. Some employers may prefer candidates who have experience in a management position. Safety managers can gain experience in a variety of safety-related roles, including safety engineer, safety inspector, safety officer and health and safety representative.

Certifications & Licenses: Some employers may require safety managers to have certain certifications. While certifications are not mandatory, they can help candidates stand out during the hiring process.

Safety Manager Skills

Safety managers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Leadership: Safety managers often use their leadership skills to train and guide their teams. They can use their leadership skills to motivate their team members and help them develop their own skills. Safety managers can also use their leadership skills to ensure their team follows all safety regulations and procedures.

Communication: Safety managers use communication skills to convey information to employees and other stakeholders. They also use these skills to communicate with other departments, such as human resources, to relay information about employee benefits or changes in company policy. Safety managers use communication skills to communicate with contractors and suppliers to discuss safety procedures and protocols.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills allow safety managers to identify potential hazards and develop solutions to prevent them. They can use their problem-solving skills to identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them. For example, if a company is planning a large construction project, a safety manager can use their problem-solving skills to identify potential hazards and develop solutions to prevent them.

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a situation and make a decision based on the information you have. Safety managers use critical thinking skills to make decisions about workplace safety procedures and emergency response plans. They also use critical thinking skills to identify potential hazards and risks and develop strategies to mitigate them.

Decision-making: Safety managers make decisions every day, from deciding which safety equipment to purchase to deciding how to handle a workplace emergency. Effective decision-makers can analyze a situation, consider their options and make a choice that benefits the company and its employees.

Safety Manager Work Environment

Safety managers are responsible for developing, implementing, and overseeing safety programs in a variety of settings, such as construction sites, factories, offices, and schools. They inspect workplaces for potential hazards, investigate accidents, and develop safety policies to protect workers. Safety managers typically work full time and may be required to work evenings or weekends to attend meetings or conduct inspections. They may also travel to different worksites. Safety managers may be exposed to hazardous materials and dangerous situations when they inspect workplaces or investigate accidents.

Safety Manager Trends

Here are three trends influencing how safety managers work. Safety managers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for a More Integrated Approach to Safety

The need for a more integrated approach to safety is becoming increasingly important as businesses become more global and complex. This trend is leading to an increased demand for safety managers who can provide a more comprehensive view of the risks that employees face in the workplace.

Safety managers can capitalize on this trend by developing skills in areas such as risk assessment, incident investigation, and emergency preparedness. They can also work to integrate safety into other departments within their company, such as human resources and operations.

More Focus on Cybersecurity

As businesses become more reliant on technology, the need for cybersecurity professionals will continue to grow. This is because cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated and difficult to detect, which means that businesses need professionals who can help them stay safe.

Safety managers can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in cybersecurity. This includes learning about common attacks and how to prevent them, as well as understanding the latest technologies that can help protect businesses.

A Greater Emphasis on Culture Change

As safety becomes a more important topic in the business world, companies are beginning to place a greater emphasis on culture change. This means that safety managers will need to be able to not only manage safety programs, but also promote a culture of safety throughout their organization.

In order to be successful in this role, safety managers will need to be able to communicate effectively with all levels of employees and understand what makes each individual tick. They will also need to be able to identify potential hazards and come up with solutions to make the workplace safer.

How to Become a Safety Manager

A safety manager career can be a great way to use your skills and experience in the field of safety. It’s important to consider what you want from this role before starting down the path. Do you want to work for a large company or a small business? Do you want to travel or stay close to home? Do you want to focus on compliance or prevention?

No matter which direction you choose, it’s important to keep learning and developing your skills. Take advantage of opportunities to attend training courses and workshops, read industry publications, and network with other professionals.

Related: How to Write a Safety Manager Resume

Advancement Prospects

Most safety managers start out as safety coordinators or safety specialists. With experience, they may be promoted to positions such as safety director or safety manager. Some safety managers advance to top executive positions, such as vice president of safety or chief executive officer.

Advancement opportunities for safety managers depend largely on their educational background and work experience. Those with a bachelor’s degree in occupational safety and health and several years of experience as a safety coordinator or safety specialist will have the best opportunities for advancement. Those with a master’s degree in occupational safety and health and experience in a related field, such as engineering, will have the best opportunities for top executive positions.

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