How To Be The Perfect Safety Professional (5 Easy Steps)

How To Be The Perfect Safety Professional (5 Easy Steps)

Jill James

Jill James

Chief Safety Officer

Jill James brings an unrivaled perspective on risk, regulation and liability. With 14 years of experience as a Senior OSHA Safety Investigator with the State of Minnesota, and nearly a decade in the private sector as a safety program manager, Jill is a passionate advocate for training ROI.

  1. ROI: Have Return-On-Investment (ROI) data proving safety is a profit center, not a cost center.
  2. Ensure all possible job tasks have a current Job-Hazard Analysis (JHA) and all employees trained to perform work free of hazards.  
  3. Research, author, and keep current, all written safety programs, policies, standard operating procedures (SOPs), inspection documents, industrial hygiene records, and medical management programs as required by all applicable regulatory agencies, along with industry best practices for compliance.  
  4. Obtain a budget for occupational safety and a full-time staff to accomplish steps 1 through 3.
  5. Ensure every employee, contracted employee, and temporary worker, performs work safely in accordance with training—including when no one is watching—resulting in zero serious injuries, occupational illnesses, or fatalities, pursuant to steps 1 through 4. 

Oh!  Wait! I forgot. There’s a 6th step. 

Step 6: Obtain a magic wand.

Psst…if you can get an invisibility cloak like Harry Potter, your speed to perfection increases dramatically.

“Perfect.” The definition of perfect: “entirely without fault or defect; flawless.”   

Here’s my definition of perfect: “A mythical aspiration leading to anxiety, sleep deprivation, feelings of shame, guilt and inadequacy. Akin to the mythical perfect parent, perfect spouse, perfect male/female form.”

Let’s try imperfectly perfect, instead. How do those words feel? Little less suffocating? Little more attainable?  Good!

Let’s get to work being perfectly imperfect; doing what we can, bit-by-bit to ensure the health and safety of people. Do what is possible in the next hour, day, week, year.

And let’s chase that magic wand. 

I found boxes of them in the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) section where Harry Potter and Hermione Granger found theirs. Just kidding…yet wouldn’t that be awesome?! 

In reality, we each have to craft our own. The ‘magic wand’ is simply an organizing concept for tricks of the safety trade, boosting our collective performance.

So let’s get to work assembling our magic wand together. That’s the unique thing about our work; it’s not proprietary and we’re willing to share best practices and recommendations. It’s one of things I love most about the safety professional community. The sharing, mentoring, and unique, adaptable best practices born of necessity.

So back to those 5 not-so-easy steps—what can you offer the community? What’s something you can share that helped you be a more effective safety professional?

Please comment, share a link, a document, an idea, a calculation, a resource, or a vendor; anything that might help another safety professional send their people home whole and healthy. 

If enough of us embrace the importance of teaching others and increase knowledge-sharing opportunities, we’ll have that magic wand crafted in no time.

Here at Vivid, we don’t have all the solutions (yet). Like the rest of us, we’re working on it. Every month, a focus group of 13 safety professionals from all over the United States come together to brainstorm and test solutions that make life a little easier for safety professionals.

Meanwhile, I’ll share a few resources we have to get us building this magic wand! And if you don’t have a resource or suggestion, that’s okay. Please comment on what you WISH you had. Maybe someone will share the solution you are seeking, or, maybe we’ll build it for you. 

Bit-by-bit we’ll do this together.