Aggregates Manager

November 2014

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AGGREGATES MANAGER November 2014 38 Don't underestimate the importance of middle management; it puts ideas into action. by Zach Knoop Stuck in the Middle? I s it logical to think that one level in the orga- nization holds the key to safety performance? Often times, we speak of the importance of top management in setting the "tone from the top" and supervisors leading the daily charge in ensuring safe work conditions and safe employee behavior. There is no doubt that top management and super- visors play a key role in an effective safety system, but are they the "key?" Who is responsible for restating and putting top management's commitment into action? Who is responsible for holding supervisors accountable for leading the daily charge in safety? The answer is middle management. A glaring problem with most traditional safety systems is that they ignore the role of middle management within the system. This group tends to be absent from the process, so the work of managing safety is left to the safety director or supervisors, who do what they can and hope for the best. "You do not produce safety with middle manage- ment, but you cannot produce safety without it," said Dr. Dan Petersen, who established the Six Cri- teria for Safety Excellence. In other words, middle managers are a key component of a successful safety system. It is quite simple; supervisors will do what they believe is important to their boss — "they will react and respond to the priorities, the wishes, the measures, and rewards," as defined by their boss. The company safety director is typically not the boss of your front-line supervisors and foremen, and, therefore, will be more challenged in influencing supervisory safety performance without the active involvement of middle management. So what is the role of middle management in establishing safety as an organizational value and in driving safety performance? In Petersen's Six Criteria, the second criterion dictates that middle management be actively involved. According to Pe- tersen, the role of middle managers in actively dem- onstrating their commitment to safety is threefold and should be no different from how they manage quality and production. The three requirements of middle managers are:

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