Superman has limitless speed and strength. Spiderman scales walls. These heroes undoubtedly keep cities safe, but they happen to be fiction. In the real world, there are very real heroes walking among us – often going unrecognized. These are our Safety Heroes. If you know someone who should be nominated, let us know today.
“Safety doesn’t have to be focused on only compliance, rules, and the things going wrong,” says Lasey Thompson, the HSE Advisor and Training Coordinator at SafetyPro Resources, LLC. “Safety can be fun and engaging when an organization collaborates and everyone has a sense of ownership on all levels,” she says. That kind of approach and mindset is exactly why Thompson is this week’s Safety Hero. Thompson began her career in safety more than 6 years ago working as a Safety Manager, administering safety training and updating procurement websites. Her experience spans the fields of upstream oil and gas, construction, and shipyards. She received her degree in Safety Technology and her Bachelors of Science in Petroleum Engineering Technology and Safety Management from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana. Keep reading to see how she ended up in safety, and what she says is important to be effective in any safety role.
Why did you choose your profession or how did you end up in your role?
Like many safety professionals, I did not originally plan to have a career in safety. I worked in customer service in various retail stores and restaurants for about 10 years. I was introduced to safety when I was asked to join the safety committee while working at Home Depot. My customer service background and participation on the safety committee helped me discover my passion for serving others and empowering them with the tools and resources needed to be safe workers and leaders. I realized that a career as a safety professional would allow me focus on that passion. At that point in my life, I was already enrolled at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, LA. I changed my major to the Petroleum Safety Technology program and set myself on the path that got me to the role I’m in today.
What’s important to be effective in your role?
Knowledge and technical skills are required to be successful as a safety professional. That said, I actually think the most important attribute of an effective safety professional is to be authentic and actively listen to others. By doing this well, I can keep workers as the priority. Being able to influence and care about others is an essential skill for today’s safety professional.
Have you ever had an incident that changed you and how you approach your role?
I am fortunate that I have not had to deal with many serious incidents in my safety career, but I have been part of investigation teams for injuries. It is the stories of workers that influence the way I approach safety. Taking time to listen to what is occurring on their job site is essential in determining what the company is doing well and what areas have opportunities for improvements. Whenever I observe a worker who is not following a safety process or procedure, my first reaction is not to discipline them. My goal is to work with him/her to understand what led to the deviation from the safety procedures or processes and why it happened.
What do you want everyone to know about safety?
Safety doesn’t have to be focused on only compliance, rules, and the things going wrong. Safety can be fun and engaging when an organization collaborates and everyone has a sense of ownership on all levels.
What is your superpower?
My superpower is my ability to listen. By listening to people and paying attention to body language, I am able to better understand situations by reading between the lines. This is especially valuable when someone is not comfortable talking about safety issues and situations.