Definition of a Safety Manager
Sandwiched tightly between Top Brass and the teaming masses sits a
wild-eyed individual madly singing a safety tune. He's the most
misunderstood, maligned and unsung person in all the world of
business. He's the proverbial "SAFETY PROFESSIONAL".
This fellow's a little bit of all strata's....a member of none. To
the employee or worker he's a tool of management; to management,
he's just another employee.
He finds his job interesting. He speaks for management from the
"Ivory Tower" and then runs out to the Production Area, Warehouse or
Work Site to hear how it sounds. He must keep his head in the
"brass' board room", his feet in the muck.... a difficult position
to keep from falling on his butt.
He has the curiosity of a cat....the tenacity of a mother in
law...the determination of a taxi driver...the nervous system of a
race car driver...the digestive capacity of a goat...the simplicity
of a jackass...the diplomacy of a wayward husband...the hide of a
rhinoceros...the speed of a rocket and the good humour of an idiot.
He has the busiest, shrewdest, plottingest, worryingest, most
thoroughly washed brain of any human. His mail basket is always
full, his desk is a constant mess and his calendar looks like cave
drawings. Nobody has been given the run-around as often, has been
passed so many bucks, is left holding so many bags, and has cut his
way through so much red tape.
The SAFETY PROFESSIONAL keeps the coffee plantations, aspirin
plants, liquor distilleries and the midnight oil companies in
business. He must tread lightly over mountains of eggs, knowing
where to tread and, more importantly, when and where NOT to tread.
You'll find him everywhere...shouting loudly over the din of a bunch
of roaring engines, whispering softly in the hallowed precincts of
Whenever there is an accident, the SAFETY PROFESSIONAL is often
called in to explain why and how it happened. He's expected pull
rabbits out of nonexistent hats; when the job is thankless, he gets
it. He must engender interests in good housekeeping to people who
live in garage sale clutter ...promote wider responsibility to
people who have a narrow focus ... preach safety to people who think
they don't need it. He must listen to the phrase, 'that's always the
way we've done it," until he vomits.
Despite all the careful planning he is usually found dangling on a
deadline...he's the original cat on the hot tin roof...in the middle
of a muddle and of course LATE. The master of understatement, he
must make fire protection sound as essential as religion and an
accident cost sound like the national debt.
He's suppose to be a "specialist" who can breath new life into
committees and meetings... leadership into management... cooperation
into supervisory personnel... responsibility into employees/workers.
He must inspire without propaganda... propagandize without being
obvious. He parks his 1980's jalopy between the boss' new Mercedes
and the janitor's SUV. When he's clever, it goes unnoticed...when he
stubs his toe, the world is there to see and mock it.
To him a headache is normal; he'd have ulcers if he could afford
them. He has more critics than Harry Truman. He meets more people
who think they know more about safety than the company has conveyor
He can never be right. When he simplifies, he's pandering. When he
gets a little technical, he's over their head. Half the people
wonder what he does... the other half know what he does but think
he's doing it wrong! When an idea turns out lousy and after the
blame has been thoroughly kicked between the employee/worker,
foreman and supervisor, it winds up in his lap.
More people bend his ear than anybody else's. Everybody thinks he
always has time to stop and listen to a joke...hear a gripe...attend
a meeting... serve on a committee. He does, and winds up taking most
of his work home.
He has no peer in the realm of praise, propaganda and
procrastination. He knows he's right; only the world thinks he's
wrong. If he has an idea, it was stolen. However, a stolen idea is
research! Where else do you think the background material for this
sad tale of woe about a Safety Professional originated?