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When you SAY or WANT in 2017, Safety Competency, what are you asking for in your Staff?

As a corporation or business or even as a team, when you review, document or assess worker safety competency items what are you asking for in life. Is it the MINIMUM level they can achieve or is it the MAXIMUM of what they the person can show! And they are not the end all of the training, WHAT COMPETENCIES CAN’T DO for you:

·        Describe every technical skill in detail – each organization needs to tailor to its own needs

·        Reduce performance feedback to numbers Replace the need for performance feedback and coaching

·        Serve as a job description.

And yes, Competencies required of effective safety professionals is a topic of concern to educators who prepare workers for the safety profession. Knowledge of critical competencies required for the profession continues to evolve and educators must identify and help workers develop the most important competencies. “What curriculum may best prepare workers to become the competent safety managers of tomorrow?” The challenge for safety professionals and educators is to operationalize these new management roles and competencies into action plans. If safety managers become trapped in a particular style of management, they can lose effectiveness. Knowledge of business, accounting, and marketing are topics that can meaningfully expand the Safety, Health & Environmental practitioners should be integrated into the safety curriculum. Safety professionals may lose credibility, if although otherwise highly competent in the technical aspects of safety, they appear ignorant in these important areas. Penney notes, “Terms that are part of the safety vernacular – unsafe act, think safety, safety first – do not promote the profession well in board-rooms. Safety jargon is often considered irrelevant, shallow and inconsistent with standard business terminology or business objectives.

Health and safety differs from many areas measured by managers because success results in the absence of an outcome (injuries or ill health) rather than a presence. But a low injury or ill-health rate, even over a period of years, is no guarantee that risks are being controlled and will not lead to injuries or ill health in the future. This is particularly true in organizations where there is a low probability of accidents but where major hazards are present.  The Safety Competencies is a highly relevant, clear, and practical framework designed for all workplace professionals. Created by safety department of your company, The Safety Competencies has six core competency domains:

Domain 1: Contribute to a Culture of Worker/staff/contractor Safety – A commitment to applying core worker/staff/contractor safety knowledge, skills, and attitudes to everyday work.

Domain 2: Work in Teams for Worker/staff/contractor Safety – Working within inter- and intra professional teams to optimize worker/staff/contractor safety and quality of care..

Domain 3: Communicate Effectively for Worker/staff/contractor Safety – Promoting worker/staff/contractor safety through effective workplace communication..

Domain 4: Manage Safety Risks – Anticipating, recognizing, and managing situations that place worker/staff/contractors at risk..

Domain 5: Optimize Human and Environmental Factors – Managing the relationship between individual and environmental characteristics in order to optimize worker/staff/contractor safety.

Domain 6: Recognize, Respond to, and Disclose Adverse Events – Recognizing the occurrence of an adverse event or close call and responding effectively to mitigate harm to the worker/staff/contractor, ensure disclosure, and prevent recurrence.

This valuable framework includes 20 key competencies, 140 enabling competencies, 37 knowledge elements, 34 practical skills, and 23 essential attitudes that can lead to safer worker/staff/contractor training and quality improvement. Measurement is an accepted part of the ‘plan-do-check-act’ management process. Measuring performance is as much part of a health and safety management system as financial, production or service delivery management. Health and safety performance measurement should seek to answer such questions as: · Where are we now relative to our overall health and safety aims and objectives? · Where are we now in controlling hazards and risks? · How do we compare with others? · Why are we where we are? · Are we getting better or worse over time? · Is our management of health and safety effective (doing the right things)? · Is our management of health and safety reliable (doing things right consistently)? · Is our management of health and safety proportionate to our hazards and risks? · Is our management of health and safety efficient? · Is an effective health and safety management system in place across all parts of the organization (deployment)? · Is our culture supportive of health and safety, particularly in the face of competing demands?

Perceptual Opposites within the Competing Values Framework An interesting feature of the competing values framework is that each model has a perceptual opposite. For example, the human relations model, defined by flexibility and internal focus, stands in stark contrast to the rational goal model, which is defined by control and external focus. People are inherently valued under the human relations model, while in the rational goal model, people are of value to the extent they help the organization achieve its’ goals.

The open systems model is concerned with innovation and adaptation in a changing world; the internal process model is defined by monitoring controls, and internal focus. One reason the framework is named “competing values” is because there appears to be conflict among the four models. According to P bar Y Safety, competency development is desirable in each area the models represent.

A flexible leader is able to work from different models for different situations. For instance, a Safety, Health & Environmental professional may have to make decisions in the director role that are structured and unfeeling and thus unpopular with particular individuals, yet at other times must demonstrate caring and sympathetic behavior as part of the mentor role toward those same individuals.


Recognition of the barriers to effective communication and implementation of the strategies to overcome those barriers are also important for effective communication. Examples of barriers: Language Noisy environment Technical content Lack of understanding of what the receiver/audience wants or needs Inadequate feedback Emotional interference The degree of knowledge and expertise of the sender The degree of knowledge and expertise of the receiver/audience The quality of the information sent The use of an inappropriate medium Lack of trust or honesty in the source Cultural differences Poor listening skills The position or status of the source

An organization that defines and applies competencies sends a strong message about the importance of specific knowledge, skills, capabilities, behaviours and desire to deliver. Such an organization recognizes that building intellectual capital and maintaining core competencies is critical to achieving sustained success.

A commitment to competency shows an acknowledgement of continuous learning and development as a business strategy. Competency is the measurable skill, or set of skills, and level of knowledge required to perform occupation-specific tasks.

A competency model can be a tool for providing focus to specific knowledge, skills and behaviours that support alternative ways of leading, managing and delivering value to stakeholders. Competency-based strategies and tools are not optional for organizations that are serious about sustained performance. They are essential for gaining sharper focus on strategic and systematic selection and development of employees. Such tools become standards of success to support an organization’s vision, mission, strategies and goals. A competency model can add significant customer and business value.

WHAT COMPETENCIES CAN DO Translate strategic direction into action Clarify behaviours that support important values and principles Establish standards of excellence that are shared across functions and boundaries Focus learning and development on the achievement of business outcomes Provide a basis for ongoing performance feedback and development Identify emerging versus declining skill sets to help facilitate organizational transitions Accelerate development of a learning culture Facilitate self-directed learning and career development for enhanced employability Identify and leverage high performers or “competency carriers”

Activities Each area of competency lists supervisor activities. Successful completion of these activities is the supervisor’s responsibility. Activities listed in the guideline are not presented in order of importance. All activities are viewed as significant for the effective management of health, safety, environment, operations and social responsibility.

Knowledge and Skills Both knowledge and skill are required to perform an activity successfully. Knowledge is defined as knowing both what to do as well as how to do it. Skill is defined as having the ability to perform the activity correctly, relative to technique and expertise. Skills often require practice, measurement and feedback to develop into ability.

Training Based on the knowledge and skills required to complete supervisor activities, a supervisor competency training matrix should be developed based on company and industry needs. A training matrix should be related to the activities, skills, knowledge, regulated training, best practices and supervisor experience. It is not the intention of this guideline to recommend specific training courses or curriculum, but instead to offer a view of the areas of knowledge and skills related to successful supervisory performance.

Work Planning Work planning is an essential component of competency. Each supervisor within an organization must determine how they fit in the work planning process.

As a company and as a supervisor you know that:

In developing a work planning process:

1. Define the scope of work

2. Identify tasks to be performed

3. Preliminary planning: a) Review applicable procedures for planned work or sub-tasks b) Identify potential hazards c) Review HSE requirements d) Ensure Emergency Response Management is addressed e) Identify applicable mitigation measures f) Review lessons learned from similar tasks g) Identify any necessary training h) Review required qualifications for the work planned i) Ensure necessary resources are available j) Involve workers during planning as a resource k) Develop job plan l) Allocate sufficient time to perform task

4. Review the work plan with all involved personnel

5. Implement the work plan

6. Monitor and measure performance on the work plan

7. Set time and action plans for improvement  for candidate evaluation and ongoing evaluation

You the SUPERVISOR are the LEADER the PERSON Directing towards those COMPETENCIES

Establish goals and objectives for the worksite Supervisors have a clear understanding of the expectations, overall goals, and the role each individual organization has in achieving the desired outcomes. Supervisors establish the environment in which goals can be met. Supervisors provide vision and objectives to individual stakeholders in order to achieve the expected results.

Provide oversight and guidance at the worksite Supervisors monitor progress in relation to goals and continue to guide worksite activities towards the desired results.

Lead by example Supervisors guide the desired behaviour. Their actions are in alignment with industry standards and company rules and expectations, and reflect the integrity and positive attitude of leadership that draws respect and motivates exemplary performance in others. Supervisors must demonstrate professional behaviour and hold themselves to the highest standard possible.

Demonstrate integrity Supervisors are honest and ethical with respect to business arrangements and when speaking with workers, contractors and the public.

Promote a positive health, safety and environmental culture Culture is the embodiment of “the way it is around here.” Supervisors promote a positive culture through their efforts to align goals with action plans that reflect all outcome expectations. Not only are supervisors working to achieve productivity results, they are also managing activities to ensure health, safety, environmental and social responsibility expectations are also being achieved. Supervisors consistently follow through in support of safe activities and intervene when unsafe or inappropriate behaviors occur.

Provide motivation and recognition Supervisors lead with positive attitude and inspire others to be effective and efficient in their activities. A supervisor is quick to recognize and commend activities and behaviours that are in alignment with the objectives. They provide honest and positive feedback in support of individual and team efforts.

Encourage teamwork (promote operational synergies and alignment) Through clear objectives, guidance and positive recognition, supervisors align individual and team efforts towards the common purpose of achieving goal. A supervisor monitors the bigger picture of all site activities to find synergies and facilitate alignment that achieves results greater than those of the individual parts. As a result, individual and team efforts work effectively with other activities on-site and to minimize or avoid conflict altogether.

Facilitate worker participation Supervisors recognize, appreciate and acknowledge the skills and abilities of their workers. Supervisors also ask for and encourage a worker’s input and ideas to facilitate best results. Supervisors ensure accountability of all workers and themselves.

Manage accountability Supervisors provide clear objectives and expectations, ensure understanding and ability, and then monitor and reward successful performance. Supervisors recognize early when performance is slipping below the standards for all workers and themselves, and they take progressive action to correct performance and to ensure that goals are not being jeopardized.

And yes, supervisors recognize their role as leaders, mentors and role models. They accept responsibility for overseeing projects and activities on-site and recognize their role in providing development, learning and growth opportunities for workers. Supervisors utilize their interpersonal skills to effectively motivate people. The most effective supervisors tap into the effort and commitment of their workers by recognizing their knowledge and skills, and expanding the worker’s role to take advantage of those abilities.

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