This week’s Safety Hero is Ed Davidson CHST, CHSM, CSM, RSD, Director of Safety and Environmental Compliance at Long Foundation Drilling Co.

Long Foundation Drilling Co. provides a construction service specializing in drilled shafts or driven piles. It’s a company with a history of value and excellence, and they focus on getting the job done right, each and every time.

Ask this Safety Hero his super power, and he’ll tell you it’s his ability to communicate with all individuals, regardless of the setting and regardless of their level of understanding.

That spirit captures his approach to safety leadership, too: he’s an empathetic, people-focused leader who wants to help everyone to be as safe as possible at all times. Continue reading this post to see why he says compassion is so important for every safety leader and to learn the real reason he says to “Never make the mistake of thinking you know it all!”

What was your first job, and what did you learn from it? 

My first job was on the farm growing up: we had typical farm animals to take care of and heavy machinery, so by the time I was 14 I could cut grade with a dozer, track hoe, and grader. Lessons learned: farm work is daylight to dark and never ending.

My first paying job was in a meat packing plant (Reelfoot packing in Union City, Tennessee) as the hog hooker in the cutting room. Lessons learned: this was very dangerous and hard work as well.

How did you end up in your role?

I took a job with National Boiler Services Inc. some 20 years ago as a boilermaker. It wasn’t rocket science, and I did very well which drew attention to myself, I guess because of my discipline from the time I was in the military and growing up.

I already had an AS degree in Medical Technology, the Corp safety for them found out I had an education and approached me with an offer to get into safety—and because [of the] fact that I apparently had already impressed him, without knowing, by helping design a safer system than they were accustomed to using in bringing in and removing superheat tubes in a boiler house.

What are your biggest passions?

1st is God and family. I have a beautiful wife and 7 children, the first being a boy Clayton which will turn 21 in June and the rest are girls Ashley 18, Emily 17, Lilly 16, Grace 15, Allissa 9, and Sophia 8.

2nd is my Job. I guess I’m a natural because it has always come easy to me, probably due to my attention to detail, craving for knowledge, and the fact that starting out, the old timers took me under their wing and showed me the ropes. It’s always been easy for me to find a way to get my message across to others in a way that they can relate. 

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given and who gave it to you?

My grandfather once told me “Son if you’re right, don’t run.” Shawn Provencher—RIP—my mentor, always stressed that in safety, it’s not about winning or losing—it’s about doing the right thing.

What’s important to be effective in your role? 

Knowledge is important, but equally as important is compassion, understanding, and the ability to applicably apply that knowledge and pass it on in the field where the rubber hits the road. 

What’s your advice for someone starting out in a role that supports safety and/or health of employees in some capacity? 

Never make the mistake of thinking you know it all! Never forget the employees are the reason you are there; protect the employees, and in turn you protect the company and all associated. Probably most important is earn their respect—without it, nothing is gained.

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

Every incident, regardless of the severity, takes a little piece of me. I take them all personally!

What do you think everyone should know about safety? 

It is quite honestly the most important aspect of your life regardless of the setting.

Do you have any mantra you live or work by?

Not really. I just treat everyone like they are my family.