Developing Effective Site Safety Leaders in the Mining Industry

CIM Montreal 2015
Michael Hajaistron (BST), Tom McGovern (BST)
When it comes to making a sustained change toward achieving the best in safety, mining organizations ultimately rely on individuals to make independent decisions in the midst of unexpected and unforeseen situations. Aligning these decisions with the organization’s safety strategy is key to success. This means developing supervisors and managers who know how to effectively lead others in safety and promote a culture that makes safety who the organization is.

Being a supervisor or manager in the mining industry is challenging under the best of circumstances. Responsible for multiple priorities, but with limited time, many site leaders find it difficult to include safety tasks in a meaningful way. Yet, these leaders are influencing safety all the time through their decisions and actions. This presentation will discuss the specific ways mining leaders are already influencing safety and how they can integrate concrete practices to improve safety and operational performance right now. We will explore what effective mining safety leadership looks like in the following critical areas:

• Practice Safety-Critical Behaviors—At-risk behaviors can occur at any level. Supervisors and managers must be able to identify how their actions influence hazards and consciously practice behaviors that reflect their support of safety.

• Make Regular Safety Contacts—Supervisors and managers need to ensure basic safety functioning beyond the usual safety meetings by defining essential safety practices that can be tracked over time. For example, leaders can safety plan with employees before a particular job or personally sign work permits.

• Remove System Barriers—Supervisors and managers are well-positioned to correct organizational conditions and systems that contribute to exposure by addressing equipment availability or through the application of exposure recognition systems.

• Monitor and Correct Working Interface Conditions—Supervisors and managers who develop fluency with the hierarchy of controls can track leading indicator data to correct identified exposure conditions as they occur.

• Build the Culture—In many respects, workers take the words and actions of their supervisors and managers to represent “the company.” Qualities such as the perceived fairness of a supervisor’s decisions and the level of a manager’s credibility with her team contribute powerfully to a safety-supporting culture.

This presentation will explore what effective site safety leaders do and will discuss:

• how mining executives can develop the distinct and important role site managers play in leading their organization in safety;
• the leadership style and best practices for achieving success;
• how to improve manager and supervisor safety activities in the five most critical areas;
• how to embed vital safety practices into the fabric of your organization;
• how to create consistent momentum toward safety goals by aligning the decisions of leadership with worksite behaviors;
• the best practices for enhancing supervisor and managerial communication and feedback skills; and
• how site leaders can identify and advance goals for sustainable safety.
Keywords: Managers, Supervisors
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