Shane Zimmerman, Safety Manager at Crow Works, makes sure that every team member who comes in to Crow Works in the morning can expect to return home safety at night.

Based in Ohio, Crow Works is a firm that designs and builds custom commercial grade furniture.

“As the Safety Manager, it is my responsibility to ensure everyone has the know-how and the tools to prevent and handle emergencies,” he says when we sat down with him for our Q&A. 

Shane is the kind of safety leader who leads by example. “My father is a man of few words, but his actions speak louder than a Southern Baptist preacher on Sunday morning. He doesn’t ask anyone to do anything that he wouldn’t do himself, and he proves that time and time again,” says Shane when talking about “modeling the way” as a safety manager.

Not only is Shane the kind of manager that others want to follow, but he’s also a selfless leader. “Doing things for others—whether small, large or unplanned acts, I have always found joy in doing,” he explains. “As an emergency response specialist, I witnessed firsthand how a serious workplace injury can change lives forever—for families, friends, communities, and colleagues. Today, I am committed to ensuring each team member returns to their loved ones-that is my way of helping others at Crow Works—and beyond,” he says.

Keep reading to learn Shane’s sound advice for other safety leaders, and how he wants to inspire and fuel others to become safety managers, too:

What’s your advice for someone who leads safety in their business?

Aside from trying to meet all the OSHA regulations, the real reason we should be in this profession is that we truly care about the well-being of others. Put the team members first.

Do you have any mantra or quote you live or work by?

“We will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.” —Vince Lombardi.

I’ve adopted this mantra for the simple reason you can use in all aspects of one’s life. If we strive for only those things that are obtainable, we may be missing the greater reward. With that said, our target each year as an organization is to have zero incidents. If our aim was anything different, I would have to question our purpose.

If there was one thing that you could change about how safety is managed, what would it be? 

I feel there are too many “safety robots” in our profession. Safety managers who try to teach the same lessons that they were taught, word for word.

Again, I want to alter someone’s way of thinking. I want them to be thinking about safety at work, on their way home, and at home. I want people to buy into safety so much that they want to become the safety manager. Living safe should be something to get excited about.

How do you see safety changing in the future?

It’s amazing how far safety has come just since I started working in the ‘80s. From all the paper work and binders to what you guys are developing today with iReport.

I see the incident rates heading to all time low with all the ergonomic equipment available, safety awareness at the push of a button, and companies buying in to the importance of safety.

The future of safety is in the eyes of all of us.  If we can think it or dream it, there is people who can make it happen.

What organization or company do you admire in terms of safety and health?

People make our culture, and it’s the responsibility of everyone to inspire a culture that breeds success. Establishing this culture begins with our senior leadership and I truly admire the commitment to improving safety and nourishing the success of our health and safety program and making team members confident within our culture to be part of a solution.

There are several ways to invest in safety, but one of the most important ways we have chosen to implement a culture of safety is by consistently reinforcing safety messages, stressing the importance of it being a team effort and regularly evaluate progress to ensure we are delivering an internal world-class client experience.

What is your superpower? 

No superpowers here. I’m human; We are all born to care for others. I think that’s a trait we tend to forget about. We let life lead us from our past failures or experiences. Instead of using them as stepping stones to climb to the mountain top, we let them crumble our spirit. I try to lead in a positive way from past experiences.