Safety Hero, Jamey Ramer is the Safety Manager for Weyerhaeuser’s Lumber Mill in Dodson, Louisiana. With more than 14 years of experience in safety across multiple industries, he has constantly revitalized safety cultures. Since arriving in 2015, Jamey has completely changed the culture from a mill who suffered numerous recordable injuries each year, to the mill that won multiple safety awards in 2016. The company went an entire year injury free for the first time ever under his leadership.
Why did you choose your profession?
I figured out some time ago that I’m a highly protective person. When a safety position opened up where I was working, I volunteered for it. No one else wanted it, so I was put in with no experience. I quickly figured out two things. One, I enjoyed it, which was a first for me. Two, I was pretty good at it. It took off from there. 14 years later, the passion is still there, and so is the passion to get better.
What is the most important thing to do to be effective in your role?
Getting to know your employees is the most important thing you can do in my opinion. Of course you’re going to identify hazards and put policies and procedures in place to protect workers, but you have to get to know the people you’re protecting.
Have you ever had an incident that changed you, and how did you approach it with your role?
Every incident affects me in some way. Whether it’s a small cut, a fire, forklift damaged, or someone loses a finger, there was more than likely a way to prevent it, and I’ve spent some sleepless nights trying to figure out what happened. My goal is to prevent incidents from happening, but when they do, I figure out what went wrong, so it doesn’t happen again.
What do you want everyone to know?
Safety really should be first. I know it’s what every company says, but for many, it’s simply a catch phrase that isn’t followed. If you’re in a safety position, stand up for what’s right and keep your employees safe. You won’t always be the most popular person, but you will a better person because you did your job.
What is your superpower?
Culture changing. Every place I’ve been, I’ve walked into a situation where the safety culture was poor. By getting to know your employees, building up your safety committee, training employees on safe behaviors, and showing them you truly care, you will change a culture faster than you think. Once employees see that you care and are willing to correct unsafe situations they have to work in, they will start seeing safety differently.