Safety Job Research Project: Results

Safety Job Research Project: Results

Barrett Pryce

Barrett Pryce

Marketing Manager

Barrett Pryce is the Marketing Manager with Vivid Learning Systems, an online safety training provider making life a little easier for safety professionals.

A year ago, we launched a research effort to learn more about the safety professional community: who they are, how they function, how they work, and what they need.

Today, across the country, many organizations have swiftly turned attention toward this group for leadership, direction, and support, throughout the Coronavirus outbreak. As the profession is witnessing a sudden and unexpected elevation in profile nationwide, now is as good a time as ever to spotlight the community we serve. Our own audience data confirms that environmental health and safety leaders are rapidly shifting as a demographic; a wave of retiring, experienced safety mentors, is creating vacancies for a younger generation. Additional factors include years of sustained economic expansion resulting in more jobs (until March 2020), the proliferation of occupational safety-focused higher education programs, and the maturation of the profession as a vital business discipline.

Thank you to all of our survey participants for engaging with this research effort, and special thanks for everything you’re doing right now to keep essential workers safe along with those at home.

The 10 Questions We Asked

1. How did you come to the safety role?

a. Safety just kind of became my responsibility somehow.
b. I’m in Human Resources.
c. I worked my way up and into this job.
d. I have formal safety education, training, and professional certificates.

2. When it comes to OSHA...?

a. I don’t know what that stands for.
b. I know what it is and that’s about it.
c. I know how to find regulations but not sure about compliance.
d. OSHA is one of my primary sources for information.

3. When there is a safety hazard at work I generally start by...?

a. Providing personal protective equipment (PPE).
b. Changing the way employees work.
c. Isolating employees from the hazard. 
d. Removing the hazard.

4. When there is a safety hazard at work, my management structure would most likely support…?

a. Providing personal protective equipment (PPE).
b. Changing the way employees work.
c. Isolating employees from the hazard.   
d. Removing the hazard.

5. When tasked with performing safety audits & workplace inspections...?

a. Struggle. Don’t know what I should be looking for or where I should be looking.
b. Follow a checklist that I found online, but often don’t know what some of the items mean.
c. I do pretty well. I keep learning new things to look for all the time.
d. It’s my favorite activity! We log corrective actions & completions and have trained the safety committee for support.

6. Determining the safety training needs of my workforce...?

a. Makes me reach for antacids—I don’t know where to start.
b. I feel like I understand 50% of what my employees need for compliance.
c. I’m working on it and finding resources, but it’s taking forever!
d. I have a repeatable plan, it works, and I’m confident I know what training all employees need based on hazard exposure.

7. When I need to ask management for financial support...?

a. I do not know what data I should use or where to find it.
b. I use data about the cost of accidents & injuries I find online.
c. I use injury & illness rates from our OSHA 300 logs.
d. I have access to workers comp data, OSHA 300 logs, and compare within our industry.

8. Today, if a government regulator or insurance auditor asked me to provide 3 years of training records for my entire workforce on hazard communication & fire extinguisher training, including the date of training, how that training was delivered, and detailed explanation of what that training covered, I would...?

a. Not be able to produce anything.
b. Be able to produce records including employee names, but no details on what was covered or how the training was delivered.
c. Could produce all of what was requested, but not for the entire workforce.
d. Could produce a report electronically in minutes, along with a summary of the training content for each topic, by department, location, etc.

9. When it comes to delivering safety training and developing content…?

a. I wouldn’t know where to look for help on what must be covered.
b. I start with YouTube and look elsewhere for free resources, but unsure whether any of that stuff meets regulatory requirements.
c. I prefer to do my own research, write my own presentations, and deliver them myself.
d. I prefer to deliver compliance topics online to our employees and conduct live training to cover safety considerations unique to our operation.

10. If I had a Safety Magic Wand, today I would wish for...?

a. A mentor
b. A software/platform to help me tie the whole safety job together
c. Leadership buy-in
d. A  budget for safety

Here’s what we’ve learned

  • 72% of working health and safety leaders received no formal education in the discipline; only 27% of survey respondents were schooled, trained, or holding professional certificates like the CSP (Certified Safety Professional). The majority are “Accidental Safety Pros” or folks who’ve worked their way up and into the safety function.
  • 68% of safety professionals identified OSHA as a primary source of information.
  • 47% of survey respondents identified other options of hazard mitigation—isolating the hazard (29%), providing PPE (12%), and changing the way employees work
  • 38% of safety pros confidently and regularly perform safety audits and inspections and identified this as a “favorite” activity.
  • 57% of respondents “know what training all employees need based on hazard exposure”; 29% are struggling to navigate this area of compliance.
  • Fewer than half of safety professionals (47%) leverage workers comp data and industry benchmarking to earn support for occupational health and safety investments; 20% use injury & illness rates from the OSHA 300 Logs; 15% don’t know which data to use or where to find it.
  • 53% of survey respondents are not ready for comprehensive regulation of insurance audit; 46% of pros could meet the reporting threshold “in minutes”, and are full prepared.
  • 50% of safety professionals prefer to develop their own safety training and resources; just 31% are leveraging online training for compliance topics.
  • The top, wish-list ask for 46% of pros? A software platform to “tie the whole safety job together.”