5 Leadership Strategies to Promote Employee Safety

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The safety of an organization’s employees is of utmost importance. Organizations that put employee safety first are rewarded with a high level of employee performance and customer satisfaction. And the best part is that they don’t have to pay a heavy price.

When it comes to safety, leaders play a vital role. The leadership role of a manager or supervisor in ensuring the safety of their employees is often underrated.

In many organizations, the safety of employees is still largely left to chance and common sense rather than well-defined policies and procedures. That is why there is an urgent need for safety-conscious leaders who ensure adherence to safety standards in their teams.

In business, a human life is the one thing that cannot be replaced.

Safetyandhealth Magazine

So, how does one ensure employee safety in an organization? And what can an individual do to be more safety-conscious? Let’s dive into this!


This article discusses the importance of promoting employee safety in organizations and the crucial role of leadership in ensuring it. The article provides five leadership strategies to promote employee safety and highlights the characteristics of effective safety leaders.

It also explains the benefits of promoting employee safety and how leaders can develop a safety culture in their organization. The article emphasizes the importance of fostering a psychologically safe environment where employees feel comfortable communicating safety issues.

Lastly, it discusses the leadership behavior required to ensure employee safety in high-risk environments and the effectiveness of transformational leadership in promoting worker safety.

Employee safety
Photo by Andrea Bellucci on Unsplash

Leadership’s responsibility for employee safety

Leadership’s responsibility for employee safety includes demonstrating their commitment to safety via various activities like providing resources and communication. Management should prioritize safety over competing goals and demonstrate this commitment through their active involvement and behavior.

A case study from NCBI revealed the 5 main dimensions of leadership safety behaviours (LSB). This data was collected from 305 miners in China using questionnaires.

5 Dimentions of Leadership Safety Behaviours (LSB)

  • Management Commitment
  • Communication with Feedback
  • Policy
  • Incentives
  • Safety Training

The board and senior managers should also act as role models and use safety expertise to show that safety is a priority.

Moreover, leaders must encourage employees to report accidents and near misses without any blame, praise good safety performance, and encourage employees to take safety seriously by highlighting its importance of it.

Furthermore, leadership should move towards a just culture that demonstrates care and concern for employees by emphasizing the value of safe work practices. It can help create a safe environment for everyone to work in.

Characteristics of an effective employee safety leader

Safety leaders ensure workplace safety and health. They are responsible for directing and overseeing an organization’s safety and health program, which includes creating and maintaining a safe environment, promoting occupational health and safety, and developing a safety culture.

In addition to their leadership role, effective safety leaders demonstrate strong commitment and involvement in Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) activities to serve as role models. They must work towards creating high safety standards culture within the organization.

It helps employees understand the importance of safety, which can help them meet their professional goals more effectively.

Safety leaders also work well with employees, promote cooperation and collaboration, and actively seek input from people on safety-related issues.

They generate a high level of trust with their employees and are willing to admit mistakes and advocate the safety interests of everyone.

In addition to this, effective safety leaders communicate safety-related topics every time they speak. It helps audiences understand OSHA’s guidelines for workplace safety and other relevant information.


Here are some key characteristics of effective safety leaders:

  • Commitment to Safety
  • Communication Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Empathy
  • Transparency
  • Technical Expertise
  • Accountability
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Collaboration
  • Vision

5 Leadership Strategies for promoting employee safety

Safety culture is one of the essential ingredients to create a safe working environment. It involves creating a positive attitude toward safety, commitment to safety, and preventing injuries and incidents.

Leadership must promote a safety culture in an organization, as it can inspire and empower others.

There are 5 key steps you can take to promote employee safety, as outlined below:

  1. Establish a safety program with clear goals and objectives and ensure the allocation of sufficient resources to implement and maintain it.

  2. Promote effective communication among all stakeholders to ensure clarity of mission objectives and expectations and remain open to feedback.

  3. Demonstrate a genuine, public, and continuing commitment to safety, actively involve yourself in OSH activities, and encourage a workplace minus a blame culture.

  4. Utilize safety expertise, and be willing to listen to workers’ views.

  5. Empower employees to take responsibility for their own safety at the workplace and keep an eye out for any safety hazards.

The benefits of promoting employee safety

The benefits of employee safety are well-researched and widespread. 

Organizations that promote safety reduce explicit costs (e.g., medical insurance expenses) and hidden costs (e.g., absenteeism due to illness).

These organizations also seem to have healthier, more satisfied employees and fewer workplace accidents. 

Safety-minded employees are likely to be more engaged, leading to improved performance, higher morale, and more creativity.

Organizations can also create safety awareness programs and appraisal systems that reward employees for their safety performance. It can help them stay motivated and focused on safety issues.

Leaders should foster a psychologically safe environment where employees feel comfortable communicating issues without fear of retaliation or humiliation. In addition, effective safety communication can interact with other variables like the safety climate, culture, and safety commitment to reduce accident rates.

Leadership behaviour in ensuring employee safety

Safety leadership ensures employee safety in high-risk environments like healthcare and manufacturing. 

Leaders need to understand the safety issues in their work environment and develop safety practices and procedures that promote worker safety. 

They should also have the leadership skills to implement and enforce these safety measures at the organizational level. 

Transformational leadership is a style of leadership that can be particularly effective in promoting worker safety. 

It involves inspiring and motivating followers to work towards a shared vision and empowering them to take ownership of their work. 

It can lead to a high-reliability work environment where safety procedures consistently reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.

For example, Google has a strong focus on safety leadership. 

The company has many safety measures to promote worker safety, including training and a hazard reporting system.

Their leadership has also created a culture of safety where employees prioritize safety in their work with open communication.

It shows how important safety leadership is for creating a safe work environment and promoting worker well-being. 

Ultimately, leadership plays a crucial role in promoting worker safety. And organizations that prioritize safety leadership are more likely to have a high-reliability work environment where safety procedures are consistent.


Safety leadership is essential for any organization that wants to ensure a safe workplace. It involves setting safety goals, providing training, and monitoring safety performance.

In addition, it involves providing support to employees having safety concerns and implementing organizational safety policies.

Leaders who promote employee safety are successful because they recognize the value of teamwork and foster a culture of safety by emphasizing it.

Besides, they create an environment to welcome new and diverse ideas and people. By following these strategies, leaders can improve safety performance and create a supportive environment for employees.

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