The responsibility of being a safety manager falls into our hands, leading to being stuck in our career in safety.

As a result, you cannot attain a more significant position in the company or maximize your earning potential. If you’re wondering, it can be up to an annual salary of $100,000.

So, to avoid getting stuck on your career in safety, let’s talk about the 3 big mistakes that you can make as a safety manager. Let’s get into it!

Biggest Mistakes to Avoid on Career in Safety

#1 – The Old Belief of Working Their Way Up in a Company

It’s easy to fall into this old belief of needing to work your way up to get a bigger role. Especially if your parents believe in this and have deeply ingrained it in you since childhood.

And to avoid this mistake, keep in mind that this belief isn’t true. As you continue to work as a safety manager, you accumulate knowledge and develop skills that will make you valuable as an employee.

So if your current company doesn’t see your value, maybe others will. That is why transferring to another company is a great move forward to increase your position and pay as a safety manager.

Keep in mind that moving to another company is a great way to progress your career. They can see it negatively if you keep moving from company to company, year after year. So, to avoid this, stay in your current company for a minimum of 3 years before deciding to move forward.

#2 – Being Too Scared to Branch Out To Other Industries

It’s daunting to move forward in your career because you’ll need to learn new things and develop new skills. So, if the available career options are far from your current industry, this is true.

But to avoid this mistake, you need to remember that safety is still safety, no matter what industry you are in. The work process and approach are still the same, but you’ll just need to learn new safety guidelines.

Gaining new knowledge and skills from different industries is advantageous to your safety career. It will boost your confidence and exposes you to various working environments.

#3 – Doesn’t Speak Up About the Value of Safety

This is the biggest mistake that a safety manager can make. It negatively impacts the company’s perspective about safety, but it also affects your value in the company.

When you don’t speak up about the value of safety, they won’t see safety as a beneficial and profitable asset in the company. And the company will make decisions without ever considering the safety implications and your inputs for all of their project.

This will put you in a negative light because, first, they will likely see you as a financial burden to the company. And second, you’ll likely receive workloads without consulting about it.

Take Action

In summary, you can avoid getting stuck in your safety career and continuously move forward by transferring to different companies, branching out to different industries, and confidently speaking up about the value of safety.

Which one will you try?

Take Action

In summary, you can avoid getting stuck in your safety career and continuously move forward by transferring to different companies, branching out to different industries, and confidently speaking up about the value of safety.

Which one will you try?

#060 - 3 Biggest Mistakes That Will Hold You Back As A Safety Manager

Safety Brye: [00:00:00] Are you feeling stuck in your current job? Have you been at this for a while and don't know how to make the leap to the next level of your career? Well, it's probably because you've been sitting too long in your comfort zone, my safety friend, among other things, it is time for you to step into that position that you know, you deserve.

So let's talk about what is probably holding you back. Let's get to it. Hey, there, safety friends. Welcome to the safety geek podcast. I'm Brye Sargent CSP and 20 year safety professional. After spending years training safety leaders across the globe for a large corporation and creating safety programs from the ground up, over and over again, I am now sharing my processes and strategies with you at the safety geek, you will learn how to manage an effect.

Safety program that increases your management support and employee engagement all the while helping you elevate your position and move

[00:01:00] up in your career. If you're ready to step into the role of a safety, influencer and leader, you're in the right place. Let's get to it. Hello. Hello. Hello and welcome to this safety geek podcast.

This is Brye, your number one safety geek. So let me ask you, how did you get into safety? A lot of times people are accidental safety managers, they're given safety responsibilities, or they tend to like grow into it because they're participating in safety events and safety trainings and things like that.

Or the company realizes that they need a safety lead and they go to you and they go, Hey, can you take on this responsibility? Is. Or you like who you work for and you want to move up in that company. So you apply for the safety role, but now that you're in this role, you actually see potential in it. Now, when I tell people that 47% of

[00:02:00] safety managers make over a hundred thousand dollars a year, they are blown away.

So if this is a fact why aren't people talking about it. Why isn't safety, something that we're seeing at career fairs. It's because most of us fall into this role, but falling into it leads us to being stuck. So let's talk about what's keeping you stuck and what you can do about it. And there are three big mistakes that I am seeing a lot of safety professionals make.

So let's break it down. Number one, they are stuck in the old belief of working their way up in one company. You know, when I was growing up, this is how work was actually shown to me, like my whole life as a child. And my mom was self-employed she owned her own business and my dad was in the air force, but they both had this belief that unless you owned your own business or were in the military, you had to start at the bottom of the company and work your way up. And that over the

[00:03:00] years, you will eventually get to where you're going. They believe there's so much that three years ago, when I was laid off from my corporate job, both of them said to me, great now you have to start over again. They honestly thought I was going to have to start off at like a receptionist position and work my way up.

Like starting off as a janitor and work my way up. Like my 20 years of safety didn't give me any skills that I could just walk into the same kind of position at a different company. This is an old belief and over the years, loyalty to employees is gone and there's actually an advantage to the employee.

If you're changing companies for one, you gain more skills and experience. If you stay at one company, you're very limited in your skills only to what applies within that company, unless you happen to be working for a company that has a lot of different industries. I actually was the director of safety at a place that had like six or seven different industries within it.

The other advantage of changing companies is that it

[00:04:00] increases your pay. So I, now I do want to caution you about this. 'cause you don't want to be seen as a job jumper. So when we look at your resume, you don't ever want to be seen as like, well, every year they're changing jobs. So why would I hire them when in a year they're likely to be gone.

So employers do look at that. So you don't want to be a job jumper, but if you stick to a schedule of three years minimum, you stay at a job for three years, and then you start looking for another one. You are going to end up gaining skills and experience that actually help you to move up in your safety career or your career in general.

So that is one mistake that I am seeing. A lot of safety managers make is that they have this belief that they have to start at the bottom and work their way up and stay at one company for a really, really long time. Now, mistake number two is that they believe that they can only do safety in one industry, that they are too scared to branch out into a different industry.

And I am here to tell you my safety friend, that safety. Is safety is safety, regardless of what industry you

[00:05:00] are in, it always starts off the same. You do a hazard assessment, you learn about the regulations that apply to that company. You set up inspections, training, you learn about claims. You start changing behaviors that is safety, the processes and the strategies and the behaviors.

They all stay the same. The only difference is the environment, maybe you're going from a manufacturing environment to a construction environment or to a shipyard or to a farm, or you're going from pharmaceuticals to food or from food to steel manufacturing, who knows. But there is no different. Safety is safety is safety.

What is scaring people is the fact that they don't understand or know the regulations that apply to that company like the back of their hand. But anyone who has been in safety knows that we all started off there at some point. It's not that hard to grab a reg book and read it and learn up

[00:06:00] on it. And there are so much advantage to you when you actually gained skills

in different industries. So think about it. If I am hiring a safety professional, do I want to hire the person who has always been in food safety, their entire career, and now who I'm hiring for is manufacturing, let's say steel manufacturing, right? Or do I want to hire the person that has diversified their background and has worked in a lot of different industry?

They did DOT for a while. They did some EPA for a while, but they gained this whole, you know, well-rounded experience. It's like that old saying Jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes is. Then a master of one. So that's what I'm talking about here. It's like, yeah, I spent my entire career in one industry.

I may be a master at that industry, but I'm not gaining all those other skills from learning all the other industries as well. So keep that in mind. And the added

[00:07:00] skills just make you. Not just more valuable in the workplace, but those added skills make you a better leader because as you're changing industry, you're also learning about different cultures, how to have those interpersonal skills with different types of employees.

And you learn how to do, you're saying regardless of the environment, And that's why you can then be confident and going, I can walk into any business and I could totally rock their safety program. And you will feel that confidence when you have that background experience. All right. Mistake number three.

And this is a big one, my safety friends. So make sure you're listening. Come back to me. If you kind of straight a little bit, the biggest mistake that I see safety managers making in their careers, is that they don't speak up enough and show the value that safety is bringing to the company. This is the biggest thing.

Holding safety managers back from so much, it's holding them back from promotions is holding them back from that C-suite job. It's holding them back from being included in business decisions. And what

[00:08:00] I see happening is they accept the fact that they're not included. They accept the fact that they weren't invited to that meeting or the decision was made without their opinions.

The except the fact that they have to do all the cleanup work after the decisions are made, because they never thought about the safety implications and they accept that they are expected to do everything related to safety, that they are not the coach of the coaches, but that they are the doers of safety.

Going back to that other episode that I talked about, about changing from a safety doer to a safety leader, all of this changes when you speak about safety a different way. And I want you to take this to heart safety is the most important department of pretty much every business out there, because it is the only department that positively affects

all the other departments, no other department in your company can say that we positively affect every single department and companies with a robust safety program and a strong safety culture. They make more

[00:09:00] money, but it is up to you to show them that you have to start showing them what the return on investment is of your safety training of how you help them improve their efficiencies and how having a strong safety program reduces quality.

And returns of their product and how you improve employee morale and you reduce turnover. Turnover is expensive, so you're saving them a ton. So how does safety save the company money has to be included from the very beginning. And you have to make sure that you are being a team player out there and not a deputy.

You're not the one that comes in and tells them how they can't do their projects because it's against regulations. You're the one that comes in and says, well, if you do it right, the return on investment is this. And this is what we'll get for it. And this is how you can do. Not only in compliance, but you'll be treating the employees the right way.

The biggest mistake is staying small and keeping your mouth shut. You have to know your worth and

[00:10:00] be expected to be treated like a valuable member of the management team. But until you start speaking, the value that safety has, you don't believe it yourself. It's so sad to me when I speak to safety leaders and they're complaining about management support and commitment, but they're not selling safety.

They're not making the case for safety. They can't even express the return on investment for that safety training or that safety policy or these SOP's. You've got to think outside the box and know how to do this. And when you start speaking with that kind of confidence and you start speaking up at those meetings, you start showing your value.

Guess what happens? Not only will you gain more confidence and respect, they will start including you in those business decisions. They will want to know what you think about it. And maybe you'll move on if things don't change, maybe you do all this and things don't change and you decide to move on, but you're a

[00:11:00] better person for it, but more likely you will move up or you will move over.

That's another thing I like to express is that a lot of times we think, well, we're a safety manager and now me personally, I'm in safety for life. I mean, I'm already 26 years in. But I know there are some of you out there that have only been in safety for a handful of years. Maybe this is not your final career.

Maybe you're going to take these skills that you learn as a safety manager and move over into operations or quality or HR or sales, who knows what you'll do. The world is open to you, but you'll gain these leadership skills that will 100% help you in anything that you're doing. Now it is my mission. It is the mission of the safety geek.

It is my personal mission to elevate the position of the safety manager. And that all starts with you stepping into the role of a safety leader. So I want you to look at how you have been thinking small in your career and in your day to day life in your company. And start taking

[00:12:00] action to play that bigger game to say, no, I bring this company value.

My opinion is valuable. And what I do helps this company grow because you are an important member of your company's executive team, whether they see it or not. Alrighty. That is what I have for you today, my safety friend. If you like this stuff, and you are ready to actually take your career to the next level, then you need to make sure that you get on the waiting list for the safety network.

It will be opening at stores in the next couple weeks. I promise you it might even be less than a week by the time this airs. So just go to forward slash. P D N get on that wait list so that you are the first one to know, because I'm going to be giving you the skills and the resources to not only move your career forward, but to make you a better safety leader.

So I will see you in the next episode and in the safety network. Bye for now. Hey, if you're

[00:13:00] just getting started in say. Or you been at this for awhile and are hitting a roadblock. Then I want to invite you to check out safety management academy. This is my in-depth online course that not only teaches you the processes and strategies of an effective safety management program, but how to entwine management support

and employee participation throughout your processes. Are you ready to finally understand exactly what you should be doing and ditch that safety police hat forever. Then you have got to join me and your fellow safety scholars over at safety management academy. Just go to forward slash SMA to learn more and to get started.

That's forward slash S M a and I will see you in our next students only live session. Bye for now.

Highlights From This Episode:

  • Biggest Mistakes Safety Managers Make in Their Careers
  • Solutions on How To Avoid Doing Mistakes in Safety Careers
  • Importance of Safety Career Advancement
  • How Safety Managers Should Act To Avoid Being Stuck in Their Roles

Links Mentioned:


Isn’t it amazing that you can obtain a more significant role in your safety career? Now that you know the mistakes that most Safety Managers make, what of these mistakes have you made, and how did you correct that mistake? Share your answers in the comment section below.

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Hi, I'm Brye (rhymes with sky)!  I am a self-proclaimed safety geek with two decades of general industry safety experience.  Specializing in bringing safety programs to a world-class level and building a safety culture, I have trained and coached many safety managers, just like you, on how to effectively manage workplace safety in the real world.   I would love to help you too.

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