EHS OutLoud Blog

Safety is a Lifestyle


Many people ask how I've made it this far in my career in such a short time. It's not because I know everything; no one does. It's because I treat people with the respect for which they are due. I have had the honor in working in some of the biggest projects and with some of the best companies in this country.

As a safety professional, my job is not to tell employees how to do their job.  I also am not a safety cop.

Early in my career, Randy Williamson with Whiting-Turner told me , “you can catch more bees with honey." From that moment forward, when I walk through a job site, I keep that in mind – no matter what the safety infraction or the issue at hand. 

I have been able to talk to any employee in any situation and have been able to handle the situation in my favor. From my standpoint, I have been able to see were other safety professionals fail to get their points across to their workers. 

One question I always get asked is “how did you become a safety guy?" The answer is not the training, education, the certificates or the credentials. It's all about how you respond and treat people. 

Two safety managers can have the same scenario and achieve two completely different outcomes all based on how they carry themselves. I am not better than anyone. I don't know all the answers, but what I do know is that everyone is at that job site to provide, whether for themselves or for their family.

You never can know what is going on in someone's head or what personal issues they might be having. Instead of jumping down their throats because they are doing something incorrectly, take a second, take a step back and talk to the employee; don't talk down to the employee. You might learn something yourself. They will tell you why they're doing it that way. Maybe they thought they were doing it right, maybe it's because they're being pushed for production. You might just discover a root cause that you weren't even looking for. 

The reason I can build a great connection with any employee is because I genuinely care. Workers can tell whether you care or whether you're just trying to check the block. 

Connect with your employees on a deeper level besides the scope of work.  It will take you far.  Never stop learning; never stop becoming a better you. Take a communication course that will help you engage anyone in any scenario. Safety is not a job. It's a calling and a lifestyle. 


Discuss this Blog Entry 2

on Jul 18, 2017

Every person who leaves for work in the morning should expect to return home at night in good health. Can you imagine the knock on the door to tell you your loved one will never be returning home? Or the phone call to say he’s in the hospital and may never walk again? Ensuring that husbands return to their wives, wives to their husbands, parents to their children, and friends to their friends — that is the most important reason to create a safe and healthy work environment.

But it isn’t the only reason.




on Jul 18, 2017


You are entirely correct about your last statement in article. Passion for the safety field and the desire to keep and teach others to be safe will internally draw out only the best from you, based on the condition you may be facing. If you have it going for you, you will end up using it.
Keep Up the Great Work!!

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What's EHS OutLoud Blog?

EHS OutLoud blog provides a candid look at health and safety issues both at work and at home.


Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is editor-in-chief of EHS Today magazine, a Penton Media Inc. publication. She has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. She has been...

Stefanie Valentic

Stefanie Valentic is an associate editor for EHS Today magazine, a Penton Media Inc. publication.  A native of Cleveland, Ohio, she has been in B2B publishing for eight years. Her work has...
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