Safety Professional [safetypro]
What is your profession? What is your title printed on your business card?
What is expected of you in your job, and how do you accomplish it?
Expectations include finding and helping to correct hazards that may cause fatal or life-altering injuries or illnesses for employees and improve safety records and bottom line profits for employers. This includes mine safety (MSHA) and occupational safety (OSHA) regulated industries.
This is accomplished through using performance-based safety principles - a way to integrate safety into production, processes, and employee practices that will increase employee awareness and participation in making the workplace, work procedures, and work practices as effective and safe as can be achieved. My part includes on-site visits/audits, management training and seminars, development of employee training materials, and building trust and integrity with front-line to executive management.
What links do you have on the Internet: website, blog, social networks?
Are you satisfied with the education that you received?
In which areas have you thought of building upon your education?
Perhaps getting a doctorate and eventually teach in a university setting. I have a Master of Arts degree now.
Do you usually attended seminars or coursework to advance your professional work or would you consider yourself a more self-taught person?
I attended seminars and coursework for years to enhance my knowledge and skills. I do not believe I have 'arrived' but I do more now with personal research, networking, and contacts with limited, more selective attendance at conferences and seminars. This, of course, is after almost 30 years in the profession. The networking through phone calls and emails is a great resource as I have contacts in federal, state, local governments and a variety of industries throughout the country. Being utilized as a safety expert with a national attorney group also keeps me current on changes and trends.
When did you realise that your work was being considered important and that it could possibly take you places?
Early on I realized the importance of what I was doing as it directly impacted the safety, health, and well-being of the employees that I interacted with every day. When I was asked to present a formal paper at a peer-reviewed professional conference, I was humbled about being there but felt good that others believed in the importance of what I had to present in my field.
I was later invited to present performance-based safety principles in a national conference of safety professionals. This laid the framework for my first book, which led to me writing articles for a national safety publication, which led to where I am now.
Which goals have you focused on in your professional career?
Building personal and professional relationships. I have found that if a person has good people skills with solid relationships, life is so much better.
How do you feel about speaking in front of an audience? What experience have you had in this arena?
People that knew me in high school and college would never believe this, but I totally enjoy doing presentations - teaching classes, workshops, etc.. It seems to be a gift that I didn't know I had early on and was frankly afraid to even try. I have been doing adult and children presentations and classes now for almost 30 years - in schools, in church, at corporate level and hourly level. I simply enjoy it.
How are you different from others in your professional sector?
Many safety professionals I know are quite good at quoting compliance standards but not so great on real-world application of those standards. My relationship building and desire to know how others do their job so I can integrate safe practices into it provides a more practical safety approach, which has enhanced my relationships with employees and management.
How is the Interent changing the way you work?
The internet is how I do the bulk of my job. Research, writing articles and features, writing training materials, staying in contact with my network and professional friends - all of it is done through the internet, which allows me to work from home.
Do you do telecommuting?
Yes, since Feb 2006
Would you relenquish some of your income in exchange for more free time?
Not today. I work from home and believe that over the years with a conscious attempt to balance work and family that I have a good balance now. I still have to consciously work at keeping that balance but I am not so overwhelmed with my work that I cannot enjoy my family and life outside of work.
Besides your current profession, what other things would you have liked to have been?
I have been an emergency medical technician/instructor for a couple decades. I would have liked to have been a full-time paramedic/firefighter but due to my eyesight, I could not.
In college, I had an aviation minor and I am a licensed commercial/instrument/multi-engine pilot and certified airframe/powerplant mechanic. I had opportunity to fly charter flights in a variety of aircraft but it was only part time. Soon, my 'full-time' job prevented me from taking on-call flights.
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
This dates me, but my best friend growing up and I were going to be 'singing cowboys' like Roy Rogers.
List any credits, publications, competitions, etc.
Author of Performance Safety: Above and Beyond
Author of Performance Safety: Lessons For Life
Author of Performance Safety: A Practical Approach
Author of Being Safe At Home: Surviving the Hazards of Living in Your Home
Regular safety columnist for Canadian Mining Journal, National Precast Concrete Association, Western RV News, Our Town Casper (WY)
Regular contributor to Occupational Health & Safety, Industrial Safety & Hygiene News
Creator of Safe At Home column, regularly appearing since August 2004 in various regional weekly and monthly publications.
Westfield, NY - USA