Dan Junker

ireportsource workplace safety hero

iReportSource hero, Dan Junker, is the Founder at Automation Rangers.  Dan is also a member of the Robotics Industry Association (RIA) Standards Committee and a UL1740 Standards Technical Panel Participant.

Why did you choose your profession?

I did not choose this field. It chose me. There were people who needed help, and that motivated me. As an automation and instrumentation technician, safety just kept coming up. I designed a solution called cableless control, which could kill the operation of a robot or machine. What started me into safety full time was Cableless Control and writing that into the Standards. 

What is the most important thing to do to be more effective in your role?

The biggest thing that makes me effective, is the use of risk assessment and diagnostic software for automation.

There are two kinds of safety heroes. There are those who create the standards and guidelines to help maintain a safe workplace, and there are those who risk their jobs every day to promote safety. Too often, these people are fired, demoted and don’t see raises – yet they stand up for better safety practices day after day. 

People who champion safety just want to go home at night and not have to bear the thought of losing a fellow worker to an accident that could have been prevented. 

Have you ever had an incident that changed you, and how did you approach it with your role?

Yes. There was a fatality that could have been averted, and a wireless enabling switch absolutely could have absolutely saved that life.

Management at the company thwarted attempts by the Safety Manager and I to introduce wireless (cableless) safe control. A man was killed. Morale was destroyed. Employees left. Replacing them proved impossible. That plant closed last year. A scar left not only on the company, but the workers. All this could have been avoided.

What do you want everyone to know?

Safety pays. If you look after your people, they respect you and will help you. The safest companies are the most fun to work at and often instill pride. If you are proud of your job it affects all aspects of life including family. Priceless.

All of these companies use the team approach to safety. If companies respect their people enough to openly engage in safety, the reward will be unbelievable.

What is your superpower?

My superpower is the ability to bring people together as a team, generating respect, inclusion, buy in, innovation, pride and often a good feeling about the company. 

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