Hello and welcome. All right, so if you’re trying to decide whether or not to hire a full-time safety manager, but you’re not really sure if your company actually needs one, or if you’re even ready to make that step, then don’t worry because you’ve come to the right place, because I’m going to walk you through all the key considerations that you need to be aware of and think about, so that you can make a well-informed decision on this really important issue. But before getting into that, if you haven’t already please hit the subscribe and the notification buttons, so that you’re made aware every time that I upload new content, which will be two to three times per month.
All right. So I’ve been recruiting, hiring and managing safety managers for almost 20 years now. And I’m going to go ahead and share with you some of the key things I’ve learned during that time, lessons learned, mistakes made that are going to really help you to understand whether or not you actually need a full-time safety manager and whether or not it’s the right move for you and your company.
And I’m going to do that by breaking this down into five major areas. So number one, I’m going to talk about from an operational facility employee standpoint, do you need a full-time safety manager? And you’ll see what I mean by that in a minute. Then I’m going to talk about, do you have the budget to hire and staff a safety manager? Good qualified safety manager is not cheap. Believe me when I tell you, and I’ll tell you more about that in a second here. Then we’re going to talk about whether or not you and your company are really set up to properly evaluate, vet, and select the right person because that’s a lot easier said than done, believe me, when I tell you. Then we’re going to talk about related to that, are you and your company really set up to manage this person, to evaluate this person, to make sure that they’re actually getting the job done? And then we’re going to end off by talking about whether or not you and your company are really prepared to fully support this person. What we call in the industry management commitment. You’ve got to fully support them, the safety program, which can be easier said than done, once again.
All right, so let’s just walk through these. Let’s start off from the operational facility employee standpoint, do you need a full-time safety manager and I’m going to do this starting off on the operations side, by describing some really, what I call heavy processes that include a lot of health and safety hazards. And then I’ll talk about some lighter processes that don’t have as many health and safety hazards. If you’re in the heavy category, you might need a full time safety person. So I’m talking about things like steel fabrication, wood fabrication, plating, semiconductors, chemical manufacturing, things like that.
Those are the kind of processes, heavy processes that are going to expose your employees to a lot of very serious health and safety hazards, that again, might make the argument that you need a full-time safety manager. Versus lighter operations that might not don’t have as many health and safety hazards. Things like printing, simple assembly, electronic parts. There’s a lot of examples of that, but simpler, lighter operations that don’t have those same risks.
From a facility standpoint, talk about the size here facility, how many you have, it’s kind of subjective, but let’s say, let’s just throw a number at it, 50,000 square feet. That’s a pretty big building. And if it’s bigger than that, obviously more consideration there. So bigger than 50,000 might make the argument that you need to have a full-time person. Of course, that depends on how much of that space is taken up by office space, warehouse space, how much heavy equipment, that kind of thing. Anything less than that might be an argument for not necessarily needing a full-time person. Again, kind of subjective, but you got to put some kind of a number on it.
Then let’s talk about how many employees do you have. So I think a good cutoff point, which is still subjective, but not as much as the size of the facility, or number of locations that you have, is about 75 employees. And assuming most of those employees are actually in the manufacturing or the industrial organization at your company. So the more employees you have, the greater burden for safety training. So you got to train all your new employees before they go out on the shop floor. You’ve got to do routine training for all your existing employees. Every manufacturing and industrial company is going to have turnover. So the more employees you have, the more turnover you have, therefore the greater safety training burden that you have, and also just the enforcement and everything else. Anything over in than 70, excuse me, over 75 employees, that’s going to be an argument for maybe having a full-time safety person. Anything less than that, maybe not. Again, a little bit subjective, but I think 75 is a good number to start off on.
All right, now let’s talk about whether or not you have the budget to actually hire and staff, a full-time safety manager. So I’m going to give you a range share of what you should expect to pay. So on the low end, maybe 85,000, on the high end, 120, 130, 140, sometimes even, maybe even $150,000, depending on how much experience they have. If you have environmental requirements, which just about all manufacturing and industrial processes do have environmental requirements, that’s going to raise that salary even higher, 10, 20, $30,000. So again, somewhere between 85 for somebody more junior, but has enough experience to get it done, all the way up to 150,000 to 200,000 is what you should expect to pay. And you know, with the labor shortages that we have right now, that might even be worse than that, but that’s what you should expect. And for a lot of small companies, that’s just more than they can bear.
The other issue I want to talk about is whether or not your company is really set up to properly vet and select the right person. I learned the hard way how tough this can be. So you put up an ad on different job boards. Pretty soon you’re going to get flooded with a lot of resumes like you do with any position. But when you start diving in to resumes for safety professionals, you’re going to quickly learn that there’s a lot of technical jargon, CSP, certified safety professionals, CIH OHST, HAZWOPER, OSHA 500, OSHA 510. Unless you or somebody at your company really understands where all this technical jargon and certifications mean you’re going to get quickly overwhelmed. And you’re going to come to a grinding hall because you’re just going to have so many different resumes, all referencing these same things. If you can’t sort through it and figure out what’s good and what’s bad, what you need, what you don’t need, it becomes very, very difficult and overwhelming. And again, I lived through that myself. I know exactly what that feels like.
In addition to that, you want to find somebody with the right education. Ideally, you want somebody with a four year bachelor degree or a graduate degree. You don’t have to have that, but it’s very beneficial. In addition to the, what I call the hard technical skills and the education, you also have to evaluate for what I call soft skills. Like any employee, you want somebody with a strong work ethic, dependable, reliable, hardworking, all that. But there’s something that is very unique to safety, which is the need for high emotional IQ. So this person… Managing a safety program is not easy. You’ve got to enforce it. You’ve got to be able to deal with people from ownership and management all the way through to frontline employees. It takes a special kind of person to do that, especially again, when it comes to things like enforcement.
So what you’re going to find is, if you don’t get that right high emotional IQ, you’re going to get somebody who just disengages. I mean, they just don’t have the personality or the strength, they really go out there and do what needs to be done to keep up their safety program, or you’re going to get the cop, the person who’s going to try to rule with an iron fist and a stick, and that never works with safety. Your employees are just going to tune them out, disengage, and not listen to them. And they’re not going to last. So difficult to evaluate for that high emotional IQ, that soft skill, but you need to be prepared to find that because if you don’t, that person, the likelihood that they’re going to succeed is going to go down.
So you add it all up, all those hard technical skills, the education, and the soft skills, are you really set up to really evaluate all that and select the right person, because if you get the wrong person in there, you know that’s a recipe for disaster, wasted money wasted time. It can be devastating.
The other point that I want to talk about related to what I just talked about is whether or not you have somebody, you or somebody else in your staff, who understands these regulations. It’s important to understand that if you don’t know what the regulations are, if you don’t know what the compliance requirements are for OSHA, EPA, and your state environmental agency, how do you know if this person is actually doing what they’re supposed to do? And what ends up happening is you end up having to just trust that they’re getting it done.
If you got lucky enough or were skilled enough to select the right person, that might be fine, you might be able to trust them. And of course, that happens a lot. But what happens more frequently is that person is not keeping up, and it could be because they’re overwhelmed. It could be because they’re not supported. It could be because they don’t have the skills, you name it, but they’re not keeping up. And you’re not going to find out about it until it’s too late, you’re going to have a failed OSHA inspection and huge fines and penalties. You might have high injury rates. God forbid you might have a serious injury or fatality. And by then, again, it’s too late. Now, what are you going to do about it now? Are you going to fire that person and start all over again? How do you deal with that? It’s very difficult and very common problem that I’ve seen with my own companies and with clients throughout the years, very tough. If you’re not set up to really evaluate their performance and make sure, making sure that they’re getting the job done, you might find out the hard way that they weren’t. And I hate to say it that way, but it’s true.
Now I want to end off by talking about one of the most important factors and that’s whether or not you and your company are really set up to fully support that person. We call that in the safety world management commitment. So what I’m trying to say here is that managing safety is difficult, especially for a small company. And that’s because safety is, it’s inconvenient, it’s disruptive, and it’s expensive. You got to pull production workers off your production workers off the front line to get safety trained. You’ve got to allocate people to a safety committee and hold those safety committee meetings. You got to do routine inspections to identify and create hazards, correct hazards, and the list goes on and on. So it is very expensive. It’s very difficult, especially for a small company that doesn’t have a lot of resources.
Despite all those challenges, you have to fully support that safety manager and listen to them and act on their advice, or they’re going to walk. I promise you. That’s like the number one reason for safety people leaving a company. All the interviews that I’ve done over the years, that’s by far the number one reason that people leave a company is because they’re not getting that management commitment. They might not call it that, but they’ll say things like, “Look, my current management doesn’t listen to me. They don’t allow me to train the employees. They don’t fix anything.” That’s a lack of management commitment. And again, easier said than done. If you’re a small company, you’re light on resources. It’s tough to keep up with that. If you can’t fully support that person, even if you get the right person that meets all those qualifications that we talked about before, they are not going to last long, if they’re not getting that management commitment. So you really got to ask yourself is your company and are you really set up and committed to doing that. Again, much easier set than done.
All right. So there you have it. I know it’s a lot of information, might feel a little bit overwhelming, but I hope that this video helped to guide you to make the decision whether or not to hire a full-time safety manager for your company. And by the way, if you’ve had any experiences dealing with the challenges that I talked about, recruiting, managing, vetting safety professionals, feel free to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. And I promise to respond to any of your comments.
And also before ending off here, I want to let you know that if you decide ultimately that hiring a full-time safety manager isn’t a good option for you, but you know that you need to build a safety program. I want to tell you about a fantastic new training program that we’re rolling out right now that we’re super excited about. It’s called Guided Compliance. It’s specifically designed to meet the needs of small manufacturing and industrial facilities. And what we do is we train you and your team on how to actually build and manage an OSHA compliance program in house, at a fraction of the normal cost of either hiring a full-time safety manager, like we talked about, or an expensive safety consultant. Not only do we train you on this process, give you all the resources to build everything, the templates and the management tools, but we also give you weekly direct contact with our team of experts to answer all of your questions, guide you through the maze of building and managing a safety program. In reality, we almost become your virtual safety department. Again at a fraction of the cost of hiring an internal person or a consultant. And we have literally over a hundred years of experience to help you through that process.
So, if that sounds interesting to you feel free to click on the link below the video to schedule a one-on-one strategy call. I’ll be happy to tell you all about the program, learn more about your company and what your needs are and see if there might be a good fit there.
All right, so one final reminder, if you haven’t already, please go ahead and click on the subscribe and the notifications buttons below, so that you’re notified every time I upload new content, which will be two to three times per month, to educate you about all the environmental health and safety regulations that impact small manufacturing and industrial companies. All right, thanks again for watching and I’ll see you next time.