What Type Of Safety Manager Are You?

5 Questions | Attempts: 256

What Type Of Safety Manager Are You? - Quiz

No two safety managers are alike. Each has a unique set of responsibilities and a distinct approach. When it comes to their leadership style, however, most fall into one of three categories. Psychologist Kurt Lewin conducted studies on group dynamics and identified three basic types of leaders. He believed each leadership style had inherent strengths and weaknesses that could influence the direction of the company. No one style is necessarily better, but some styles are more effective in certain situations. Understanding your style can help you identify what you’re doing well on the job and how you can improve. So, what type of safety manager are you? Take this quiz to find out.

You May Get


There’s no question you’re in charge. When it comes to safety, you’re likely to make the majority of the decisions yourself. You establish rules and enforce them with a firm hand. Psychologist Kurt Lewin coined the term “autocratic” to describe this style of leadership. Pros: The biggest advantage you offer is efficiency. You rely mostly on your own experience to make decisions and assign tasks quickly. You set clear expectations and ask your team to check in frequently with the latest updates. Cons: Your team may see you as a micromanager at times. They may feel you don’t trust them or don’t value their input because you don’t often include them in the decision-making process. Over time, this can have a negative impact on morale. Tips for Success: You can become a better safety manager by making a more conscious effort to listen to your team. Host regular supervisor meetings to review important safety information and upcoming programs, asking others what they think. Make sure all your workers, not just their supervisors, have a way to voice their suggestions and concerns. More importantly, let them know you’re taking them into consideration and give credit where it’s due. Make sure your workers can easily access important safety documents so they feel empowered to make decisions.  


Your workers can really relate to you because you were probably in their shoes once. You love to be out on the production floor and aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty. You’ll jump at the chance to operate heavy machinery, but a pile of paperwork is your worst nightmare. You’re what Lewin called a “democratic” or “participatory” leader. Pros: Workers at every level see you as approachable and trustworthy. They’re not afraid to come to you when a problem arises, and they’re motivated to work harder when they see you digging in right along with them. Cons: Sometimes you get so caught up in being “one of the guys” you forget you’re in charge. You might let some things slide among your buddies because they don’t seem like such a big deal, but this can backfire if your workers start routinely neglecting procedures because they think they can get away with it. Organization isn’t always your strong suit, either. Tips for Success: You’re getting the job done, but sometimes you get so involved in what seems urgent you neglect what’s really important. Set specific times to go out into the field each day and dedicate a block of time to working on those long-term projects, like updating your fall protection training program. A safety database software program can help you better manage the administrative tasks you’d rather avoid.  
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Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
    Your company has hired contractors for hydrodemolition, a procedure your team has never done before. They’ll be here for the next three days. How do you make sure the contractors meet your site’s safety standards?
    • A. 

      Meet with the project manager prior to their arrival and lay down the law. Ask for a detailed plan of the process, and be sure he understands the penalties for violating your rules.

    • B. 

      Clear your schedule for the next three days. You’ll need to monitor the project closely to ensure a safe, event-free execution. (Besides, you want a front seat to the action and a chance to take lots of photos!)

    • C. 

      Designate a representative from your team to act as a liaison for the contractors, and check in as needed.

  • 2. 
    You learn one of your third-shift workers fell 10 feet from a ladder, rupturing his spleen. Work has resumed while he recovers in the hospital. What’s the first thing you do the next morning?
    • A. 

      Survey the site and start calling witnesses to question them about what happened. You need to get to the bottom of this before lunchtime.

    • B. 

      Send a “get well” card to the hospital.

    • C. 

      Ask your third-shift supervisor to start an investigation so you can submit your report to OSHA within 24 hours.

  • 3. 
    You discover an open bucket of an unlabeled chemical was left behind from the previous shift. How do you respond?
    • A. 

      You check the schedule to find out who was working in that area and issue a written warning to the responsible party.

    • B. 

      You check with your chemistry manager for an analysis of the substance, discover it’s just degreaser and move on after properly disposing of it.

    • C. 

      You post signs to remind workers about the importance of chemical safety and good housekeeping.

  • 4. 
    Which of these sayings do you find to be most true in your workplace?
    • A. 

      Give a man an inch, and he’ll take a mile.

    • B. 

      Many hands make light work.

    • C. 

      Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority and don’t interfere.

  • 5. 
    What complaint are you most likely to overhear from your workers?
    • A. 

      "This place has so many rules, it’s hard to get anything done."

    • B. 

      "I can’t find anything around here."

    • C. 

      "The managers are clueless — we just have to fend for ourselves."

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