AAP Open Forum

  • 1.  Looking for Info or advice

    Posted 03-29-2023 18:03
    Edited by Laura Franke 03-29-2023 20:51

    Hi All,

    I have been approached by my workplace to take over our safety officer position. This will require me to go through training, be part of a committee and add to my already busy workload. I believe they just assumed I would take on this role with no discussion around if I wanted to.

    I have already, politely pushed back stating that I had not had a meeting with my manager about this and that I would want to discuss with them about this addition to my role because as I see it this is me taking on a second role outside of what mine is, especially if I have to do training.

    My question is if I do decide to take on this role, I have no clue as to how I should bring up competition.  I just don't want to work for free.

    Laura Franke

  • 2.  RE: Looking for Info or advice

    Posted 03-30-2023 10:27

    Hi Laura.  It is always flattering when your organization feels that you are very capable and want to give you extra responsibilities however there is also a fine line. 

    To me, they are making a fairly big ask of you and I think you are right to want to discuss the duties before adding them to your current job.  I don't know what industry you are in, but a safety officer can be a pretty big job.  What I would do is research what a safety officer would typically be paid and take that information with you to the meeting with your manager.  Explain that you already have a busy workload so this would be an additional duty you would have to make time for over and above what you currently do.  Let them know that if you were to take on the role, that you think it would only be fair to receive extra pay as it is outside the scope of what you were hired for.  I'm assuming they are trying to save some costs by not hiring in for the position but that doesn't mean you have to do it for free.

    Hopefully you have a manager that is easy to talk to and will understand that you need to set boundaries of what all falls on your desk. Let them know that you would consider taking on the duties (if you are) but that your position description would need to change and compensation would need to be reevaluated.  Remember that if we don't value and present our own worth, they won't do it for us.

    Anyways, sorry for the long winded response, but just my thoughts on how I would handle it.  Remember you are a valuable member of the team, who clearly they find very capable, so you need to be compensated for that!  Good luck.

    Donna Brown
    Executive Assistant to the CEO/Office Manager
    Saskatchewan Healthcare Employees' Pension Plan

  • 3.  RE: Looking for Info or advice

    Posted 03-30-2023 11:08

    Hi Laura,

    I echo Donna's thoughts. I think it's good you mentioned your Manager. They should be part of that decision making. I have made the mistake of saying yes in the past and then learned this is a better process.

    It's also great you are doing your homework on the role in general. It would be good to get clear direction of the tasks they are looking for and how often they expect your time. This is a full time role at my office, as I'm in the construction sector. A mix of setting expectations and boundaries is a good place to start. 

    Another exercise you could try, in the meantime, is tracking where your time is currently going. A simple daily bullet point list of tasks (bonus if in categories). Think about how you feel in the current role. Do you feel at capacity, under capacity, or over capacity? I've gained a lot of skills by taking on new tasks, along with annual raises. It can work out in that way. I've also become burnt out by overcommitting so, there is a fine line.

    As for compensation, another member recently shared this link with me and I found it quite interesting: https://www.roberthalf.ca/en/salary-guide.
    I'd recommend also searching your local job postings for a mix of your current role and the new request. I noticed this link is higher then some of my local listings.

    I hope this helps.



    Caitlyn Hamblin
    Executive Assistant
    Lindsay Construction

  • 4.  RE: Looking for Info or advice

    Posted 03-31-2023 17:54
    Edited by Taraya Middleton 03-31-2023 17:55

    Hi Laura,

    I was in a similar position as you in late 2020, early 2021. I work for an engineering firm and our safety policies and procedures were so out of date, and we were barely passing external audits. I was working with one of my colleagues who had a background in safety compliance but her main role was engineering, so over time I began to assume most of her responsibilities. I was spending hours a day researching provincial and federal laws to see what was applicable to my company and then when I would draft a policy and present it to my managers, they would comment that information was missing or incorrect or not applicable to our nature of business. 

    I quickly learnt that I was in over my head and that I needed more experience. So I enrolled in a continuing education program through the University of Calgary for a 200hour OHS basic certificate program. I am still not done this program because it's overwhelming and intense. Safety is so serious that violation levied against companies can result in a loss of job for people. 

    I don't know to what extent you will be assuming safety duties but it's more than just writing policies and procedures. There are investigations to conduct, reports to write, safety gear to buy, compliance checks with third party vetting platforms, WCB clearance letters to generate and premiums to pay, Certificate of Insurances to generate and submit, and a lot of things that I haven't even mentioned! I was so overwhelmed trying to do safety for my company that I consistently pushed to have someone hired full time for the role, and in November 2021 we hired someone.

    My company spans multiple provinces so we have the added challenge of taking 8 provincial OHS Acts into account when drafting our P&P's. This is a full time job for a team of 5 and we only have 1 person doing it with admin support from me. Lastly, I experienced a lot of push back from my engineers because I was considered "only an admin person." They didn't believe I had the knowledge and authority to tell them what to do for safety. In some cases, they were right. I never went to job sites, so I couldn't tell them what was right/wrong, I could only reference Acts, Codes, and Handbooks. I recognized my limitations and fought battles that I knew I could win. 

    If you are truly interested in pursuing the safety office position, I would suggest checking on GlassDoor for salary ranges and sign up for as many CPD courses, webinars, information sessions, etc., that you can reasonably handle. As amazing as it is to feel good about new responsibilities and a potential salary increase, ask yourself if this is really what you want and if you have the capacity to handle it. It will consume your entire work day, sometimes, with little room for anything else. 

    Taraya Middleton
    Business Development Coordinator
    Laporte Engineering