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Top Qualities of a Great Safety Leader

May 16, 2016 3 min. read
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Not only do leaders need to possess the obvious qualities of great communication and a friendly demeanour, great safety leaders will have a well-rounded understanding of the industry that they work in. They are aware of their surroundings and can react effectively in an emergency situation.

The following list further explains the top qualities needed to become a great safety leader.


It’s important that safety leaders ensure workers are participating in mandatory safety and emergency training on a regular basis.

Making use of a training calendar will help maintain organization. Leaders need to communicate with their team and regularly provide feedback through quality reviews and open dialogue.

Workers have the clearest understanding of the risks and dangers that can occur while out in the field and actively encouraging workers to express issues will not only increase safety but morale and job satisfaction as well.

Leaders need to take the recommendations of their workers seriously, even more so with issues regarding safety.


A great safety leader should realize their accountability for preventing hazardous situations and take responsibility for mistakes that may occur in the field instead of passing blame or hiding errors. Leaders should also expect the same degree of accountability from their workers.


Great leaders have safety ingrained into their daily routine. This can include beginning every morning meeting with safety reminders or constantly encouraging team members to express any hazardous issues that may arise.

Safety should be sewed into the company culture, with safety leaders acting as role models. When a leader accepts the unsafe behaviour, workers will follow and can begin behaving in ways that are hazardous to themselves and others.

When workers don’t follow safety instructions consequences should follow. It’s the safety leader’s responsibility to guarantee that workers realize there are consequences for violating safety regulations and not let the desire to be liked overcome the need to implement penalties.

Safety leaders should also be disciplined with regards to documenting safety regulations. This includes ensuring all documentation is kept up-to-date and accessible for workers, with contact numbers prominently listed in case of an emergency situation. Safety equipment should be checked on a regular basis and stored appropriately, while maintenance should take place regularly to guarantee safety equipment remains functional.


Safety leaders should have extensive background knowledge of the industry they are in. Complete understanding can only be achieved through hands-on experience in the field and continual learning that occurs in the classroom or through resources such as books and seminars.


Safety policies need to be reinforced by leaders on a consistent basis. Workers should be able to notice the safety leader’s constant commitment to following regulations while still being accommodating to evolving changes in the industry.


A great safety leader should enjoy being around people. A warm and friendly demeanour translates into leaders who want the best for their employees. Small gestures such as greeting employees can make workers feel acknowledge and valued.


Paying attention to the finer details is important. Safety leaders need to provide clarity when delegating  instructions to workers, and this can only be achieved when leaders have a complete understanding of the project at hand.

Positive Attitude

Having a positive attitude keeps team members motivated. Safety leaders have a big influence on the work place environment and when positivity is in the air, workers are more likely to enjoy going to work everyday.

It’s important for safety leaders to also be positive with regards to facilitating a safe work environment. Safety leaders should be able to come into a meeting and make workers feel interested and inspired about safety, a topic that may not be very interesting on its own.

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