In my new role as Corporate Health and Safety Coordinator for Coastal Industrial Services I oversee a staff of three safety techs and one safety manager. Our company provides heavy duty industrial hydro-blasting, tank cleaning, heat exchanger repair and vacuum truck operations to large industrial facilities (refineries, power plants, and steel/pulp mills). I feel fortunate to have come on board during a time of substantial growth, and as a result I anticipate having to bring on additional safety folks soon to provide consistent and constant safety oversight at our various locations. Manipulating water-jet equipment operating at anywhere between 10,000 to 40,000 p.s.i. can be extremely dangerous, especially when coupled with operating in temperature extremes and the confined space environment.
To assist our newly hired and future safety folks, I created a quick reference field guide for safety techs. Included is basic contact info for company management, emergency reporting procedures for our key customers, abbreviated emergency and drug testing procedures, etc…
In polishing up the document, I decided to include a distillation of what my co-workers and employees have shared with me about the traits of an safety technician. They all had their favorite and least favorite folks who served in the safety role, and shared lots of stories. In reviewing my notes, I’ve decided it all comes down to this-
A good Safety Tech;
• Stays vigilant.
• Respects the team concept and helps where needed to get the job done.
• Isn’t afraid to immediately stop work when a safety issue arises.
• Communicates effectively with supervisors and employees.
• Documents well.
• Keeps client safety reps “in the loop”.
• Won’t tolerate unsafe work practices.
• Treats everyone with respect (praise in public, criticize in private).
• Keeps their cool, especially in tense situations.
• Takes advantage of “teachable moments”.
• Never stops learning.
OK, all you seasoned industrial safety types, what did I miss? I’m the newbie in this field, so I’ll soak up any education you care to throw my way!