It is reassuring to think about the strides that have been made regarding the roles and responsibilities for today's safety professionals. In the 40 plus years since the International Social Security Association (ISSA) initiated the standards, which the European Network of Safety and Health Professional Organization, (ENSHPO) took the reigns of, safety officers and safety professionals have created safety solutions through qualifying and certifying individuals, to make a positive impact in the workplace culture for employees, and consumers worldwide.
We can add to the definition of safety professionals someone who has, through knowledge and certification, proved by established training, through academia or hands-on experience, to be a person both competent and ethical.

This is someone that can evaluate and develop a safety plan intended to secure the people within and associated with an organization. This safety professional must be proactive to the potential dangers, and establish methods to prepare the organization in the event that hazards befall the team, as well as teaching the members to react in a positive manner when unexpected circumstances do occur.

Expectations of a Safety Professional

In industry and manufacturing, we have come to expect safety professionals to contribute in several ways. We trust safety professionals to conduct accident investigations, and apply proven techniques in manufacturing sites and to the products and users.

Because of their training and experience, we have faith in our safety professionals to implement safety training that establishes an adaptable safety program that is conducive to finding safety solutions that are accommodating to all persons.

Our safety professional and safety officers are expected to create an observable atmosphere. By means of electronic surveillance, physical safety team walks, or by design through engineering controls. The safety professional will establish safety solutions for the organization, that are implementable, and ones that the team can grow with.

Safety Solutions

Safety solutions are created by the safety officer from hands-on experience on the manufacturing floor, and through product based knowledge. Evaluated comments from the safety professional, and the safety team build on the safety solutions and lead to overall employee and consumer safety, as well as bottom line savings. These solutions are built from within the organization, or implemented from research, to be effective tailor-made answers to the challenges that are occurring in the industry.
An efficient safety professional will review case studies. These studies will educate the safety professional or the safety officer to adhere to the best uses of equipment, and of products. This enables the safety professional to understand applications and attempt to predict potential mishaps associated with the common equipment and the company's production portfolio. This makes the safety professional a consultant to the management team to apply proper safety solutions every day to the manufacturing floor.

Finally, the safety professional must be a trainer to their targeted audience. For this reason, our safety professional can always set the standard for others, leading by example. This person should be professional and approachable so everyone feels comfortable coming forward with questions for clarification, or safety solutions they cultivate in the field. These qualities make the safety professional a strong leader in the organization by providing skills at developing, structuring and applying training.

Summarizing the Safety Professional

Overall, the Safety Professional wears many hats: coordinator, auditor, officer, trainer, assistant, consultant, manager and leader. To be effective they must be open in their relationships within the organization. Versatility is key, evaluating a must, and assuring reliability every day is critical.

The safety professional and safety officer must be trusted and learned in government regulations as they apply to safety, and employee rights. This person must be a reliable member of the management team to be successful in the organization and for themselves.