iReportSource hero, Cory Kennedy, is a Senior Manager of Safety, Training & Operational Excellence at Teespring in Hebron, Kentucky. Cory has an action-oriented, results-seeking mindset that drives his succcesses within the safety field.
Why did you choose your profession?
I did not choose safety at first, I got talked into this field. After being in this position, there is so much opportunity to keep people safe, and I think the biggest thing that drives me now is the education and awareness piece of it. Sometimes people do not understand that something they are doing might be unsafe, putting themselves – or others – at risk. Keeping people safe, is what has kept me attracted to safety.
What is the most important thing to do to be more effective in your role?
Having a strong support system in place with buy-in from both the bottom-up and top-down. This is facilitated first through continued relationships with everyone on the floor and production line. A solid safety committee further drives the company’s safety initiatives.
Have you ever had an incident that changed you and how did you approach it with your role?
There is one that sticks out to me. An associate was on a 3rd shift, and he had to seek medical attention due to injury. Luckily, he turned out fine. After the incident investigation, we found that he had been performing one particular motion too frequently without knowing the risk involved with it.
Overall, it reinforced the importance of safety education. Leaders must be directly involved with their workers by being on the floor and paying attention to details. It shows that we are there for them.
What do you want everyone to know?
Creating a safe work environment does not happen by accident. You may be lucky and be injury free without much attention to safety, but at some point, it’s inevitable that some type of incident will occur. To be safe, you have to be proactive. You have to own it – constantly contributing the most you can and not the bare minimum.
Compliance is great and may keep you above water; however, if you are not going the extra mile, your results and safety culture will reflect that.
What is your superpower?
No matter what industry you are in, there are always levels of risk, and complacency is the number one driver of accidents. People tend to get comfortable and may start to cut corners, relaxing on safety diligence. My ability to avoid complacency is my superpower. I actively look for ways to improve our system, hoping to create a safe environment for everyone.