Maybe we’re a little biased, but we think safety professionals are pretty cool. Whether you are just getting started in the safety field or have been doing it for several years, you have probably started to realize safety professionals must be wearers of many hats. Safety managers, supervisors, committee leaders, and all other safety positions require individuals to be well-rounded with experience and skills in a variety of areas. Do you have what it takes to make it in the safety field? Here are 7 signs you are meant to be a safety professional – and one of the coolest people around. 1. You’re one tough cookie. A good safety professional is willing to do what it takes to make positive changes within an organization. What’s the problem with change you say? Well, even when change is for the better, it’s natural for people to resist and push against almost any kind of change. A safety professional must have a tough shell for those times when others resist safety measures and go against their efforts. Hurt feelings, overreacting, and timidness are not in a true safety professional’s mantra – or they at least don’t show it! 2. You’re also a big teddy bear deep down. Even though safety professionals are tough when it comes to safety, they also have a soft and caring side as well. This is something we like to call tough-caring leadership. Tough-caring leadership is when safety professionals are tough on safety because they have high expectations and insist their followers behave, yet care about the success and safety of their employees first. This is a self-less leadership approach that uses positive reinforcement as the primary strategy used to influence behavior. 3. You can talk to just about anyone. When you’re in the safety industry, you will be working with a variety of people to ensure safety management systems are in place and employees are working in a safe manner. This means that you will be communicating with upper-level management, entry-level workers, and everyone in between to make sure everyone is on the same page. To be an effective safety professional, you will need to know how to talk to people from every walk of life and how to influence them to make good safety decisions. 4. You root for the underdogs. Though upper-management may have experience and knowledge to bring to the table when it comes to safety, safety professionals recognize front-line workers are often the ones who know how things really happen. If you’re meant to be a safety professional, you are humble and value the ideas of every individual. Even if an individual is in an entry-level position. 5. You take responsibility for your actions. Unfortunately, accidents happen. If you are in charge of safety at your workplace, it can be easy to view accidents as boulders to your ego and seek to blame anyone and anything for what has taken place. However, safety professionals that are true leaders will always first evaluate the degree to which they, themselves, have fulfilled their obligations to their employees when an accident occurs. If they have failed in that effort, they will apologize and correct their own deficiency rather than use discipline. (However, safety professionals must also not be reluctant in administering discipline when it is justified.) 6. You are like a metal detector for hazards. Though safety professionals must have a loose and flexible side which allows them to adapt to many situations, safety professionals can sometimes be viewed as uptight and rigid when it comes to maintaining a safe workplace. And this is actually completely necessary. With the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, under the US Division of Labor to adhere to, workers to protect, and machines to maintain, safety professionals must have an eagle eye for hazards. They must know how to thoroughly inspect workplaces and conduct accident investigations. Attention to detail is a safety professional’s middle name – and they are walking alarms for when things are not right. 7. You are an inclusive creator. As a safety professional, you bring a level of creativity to the table that is unmatched. You know how to look at hazards and workplace design and come up with unique ways to address issues. However, you also know that not involving employees and other individuals in creating safety measures only leads to disappointment and disaster. That’s why you include and involve others, since “People support what they create.” This makes you an effective leader with loyal co-workers and employees who are also dedicated to workplace safety. You understand that safety must be a priority for every individual within an organization. So, Do you have what it takes to be a safety professional? It’s easy to see that safety professionals are versatile individuals who almost seem to be walking paradoxes. However, it’s this versatility and ability to adapt to any situation that makes safety professionals such an invaluable contribution to any organization and why we think they are some of the best people around.