Monday, May 4, 2015

Reporting necessities – Where should safety fit into an organization structure

One of the never ending controversies in safety deals with where the safety department and resources should report.   Those of you in this blog audience have probably heard just about every option.  One of the Caterpillar organizations recently asked this question again.  My friend Andy Schneider, Global EHS Manager at Caterpillar Inc., gave this excellent answer:

“We don't have any recommended structure. Some EHS professionals report to operations, some to HR. I've always said it doesn't matter who you report to, as long as you have leadership support and participation. My own safety group has reported to corporate medical, corporate auditing, HR, Cat Production Systems, back to HR and now to Legal Services. Even with all those changes to our reporting, we have still made great progress in safety. And that's because we have had support at the top, no matter who that was.”

As safety professionals, we need the active support that enables us to improve our safety culture.  My personal experiences as a manager either in charge of safety, engineering,  operations, or all of the above have me agreeing with Andy.  If you don’t have a reporting relationship that actively supports your safety needs, how can you go about getting the kind of support that is a critical success factor for world class safety performance?

The Doc

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