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James Ridgeway's picture

What would be your main objective during your first 90 days as a new safety manager?

I would like to learn from other safety professionals about what would be your main objective during your first 90 days as a new safety manager at a company?

June 22, 2018 @ 03:24 PM EDT Health & Safety

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5 Answers


Legal requeriments compliance, EHS Diagnosis and Activities Program

July 09, 2018 @ 18:15
Cesar Augusto Candelaria Villanueva's picture


Walid Abou-Chalha's picture
Walid Abou-Chalha

Hey Cesar, can you expand on "EHS Diagnosis... " , what would you do to diagnose EHS?

November 05, 2018 @ 11:43 AM EST

James this is an excellent question.  In the practice of safety and as a leader, you must be more than a technically astute professional to perform the job.  I would encourage you in begin immediately by spending ample time on the manufacturing floor or in the field with your service technicians to understand challenges that may challenge your success.  It is imperative to build relationships with your customers, which is really every employee working under your care. Spend time to understand them personally, their families and interest and remember names; I would have frank discussions about their safety concerns and be vulnerable by actively listening to things that may have been overlooked in the past.   

Here are a few more ideas:

  • Review the current safety vision, goals and expectations and rewrite if necessary utilizing your new team(s) in effort to clarify and communicate the information in a way that is understood and embraced.
  • If you have direct reports, I would meet with each independently to understand their strengths and any challenges that may hamper their success.  I would recommend working together on a personal development plan for every member of your team and then coach, mentor and monitor to ensure success.    
  • Look for opportunities to have early successes that are “visible” to your customers (again, the employees under your care). Simple things can be done like simplifying a procedure or eliminating a bad rule, improving a reporting process, performing training personally are but a few efficiencies that will communicate you are a reliable leader that actively listens and ready to lead the process forward. Rebranding the safety program to meet your desires is quite important.
  • Cancel meetings that don’t have value or change them to drive value for your safety vision and look for other inefficacies that drain time away from the safety process.
  • Develop an all-inclusive safety strategy that drives your safety program to meet the vision you wrote or adopted at the beginning of your new role.  Strategy takes time and will be a process through most of your first 90 days.  You should have discussions with all stakeholders affected or touched by your process. The understanding of the current business climate, the resources available to you, the value that senior leaders have are just a few of many things to think about in setting strategy.


My disclaimer is that this a short answer to a lot of information that can be shared.  I’m glad to have a call to discuss or even a monthly call to discuss your progress.

June 28, 2018 @ 16:59
Scott Gaddis's picture



I would focus on how the organization manages its risks, in particular severe consequences scenarios and the corresponding control measures and emergency preparedness. I would especially review how top and middle management is involved.

June 28, 2018 @ 16:58
Pedro Uranga's picture



Objective #1 for me is to understand the organization. I'd prioritize getting to know the work we do, observing work processes, where appropriate doing the tasks, talking to people. I'd try to get an idea of the realities people face when doing work in the organization. Then I'd work to develop a list of ways that I can help get some quick wins to make things better for people in the organization to help build trust. The overall idea is to go in with the mindset of being a problem solver rather than just a problem finder. After this you'll have a good idea of what you should do next with the rest of your time, so then you can begin prioritizing issues and getting things done from there. (P.S. at the bottom of my priority list would be most compliance-related issues.)

June 28, 2018 @ 16:57
Ron Gantt's picture



It would be great if our members would please share their insights and suggestion with James.

@kennethsandlin @chrisjward

June 28, 2018 @ 15:25
Tamara Parris's picture


Chris J Ward's picture
Chris J Ward

Hi James

Start in the first week at the very top James.  You will need to know what top management understand about OHS, not until you have an idea about their capabilities will you be able to understand and deliver on what they want.  Many Presidents will not realise the implications of their decisions, probably because they know little of h/s techniques, more likely they have not had the walkaround being suggested for you.  So try to get the top of the shop to orientate themselves and you at the same time.  If they say h/s is their first priority surely they will give you their time with you to do this, if not what are we to think about their REAL attitude to OHS?  And how many times do organizations say safety is their first priority when really that facts are it is business survival that comes first.  There are ways of squaring this circle, but what do others think?

June 30, 2018 @ 06:43 AM EDT