Jody Walker is a true safety leader. Walker’s day in and day out work as a Safety manager includes program audits, safety training, job hazard analysis, developing and writing programs, implementing safety programs, enforcing new and existing safety and health policies, implementing fire and dust explosion prevention measures, ergonomics and behavior based safety implementation, and more.
With a dedication to fervently establishing a safe and healthy work environments, Walker exemplifies what it means to be a Safety Hero.
Why did you choose your profession?
In all reality, I feel like my profession chose me. After getting a couple semesters under my belt as a criminal justice major, I found myself questioning if that was really what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to make a difference. I found myself praying and questioning if a criminal justice major was God’s will for me.
Then I had a cousin that was fatally injured at work in a machine that was not locked and tagged out. He had never been married or had children. He was just a typical 24 year old trying to earn a living working in a local factory; it was a tragedy that was completely, 100 percent preventable. My desire to be of service to others kicked in as I felt compelled to make sure I did my part so that no other family would have to experience what our family did.
What is the most important thing to do to be effective in your role?
It is vital to have a diverse ability to convey a message of safety to different types of people from the CEO to the janitor. It does not matter how many letters you have after your last name if you cannot communicate your knowledge in a manner that people understand. Consistent enforcement of safe-work practices is the foundation of any healthy safety culture.
Listen to your workers! They are the experts when it comes to their designated work position.
Lastly, you have to practice confidentiality with your workers in the highest regard. This is how you earn trust and it takes time. Building trust with your workers shows them that we are here to take care of them. Also take the time to recognize and practice positive reinforcement to the employees who work safely and watch out for their fellow workers. It is those employee’s actions that send a message of safety louder than any speech we could ever give in a meeting
Have you ever had an incident that changed you, and how did you approach it with your role?
A worker climbed inside energized equipment to clean, and the worker was seriously injured. Our trained emergency response team followed incident response protocol, saving time and ultimately helped save this employee’s life.
I rendered first aid while my teammates contacted the ambulance and cleared the area. After the paramedics arrived we followed the accident investigation process that I implemented the previous year. Video, witness statements, pictures and timeline of events helped us to get to the true root cause of how this happened.
Only with true root cause can you make sure that we learn from our history and ensure that we are doing everything in our power to prevent this from ever happening to any of our workers EVER again. Safety saves lives daily!
What do you want everyone to know about safety?
All incidents are preventable. A goal of zero incidents is completely attainable. When I was director of safety for a coal company we did not have any incidents the entire time I worked there and received several awards.
The biggest reward came from the coal miners truly feeling the importance of their health and safety as being the number one priority. I can tell you that doing safety for a living is not for the faint of heart. I can also tell you that there is no other career on the planet more FULFILLING!
What is your superpower?
My passion. Point blank. Every one of us have to work to earn a living and we should all have a safe place to put food on the table for our families and return to them at the end of each shift. Passion for safety is a God-given gift. I would do it all again. No regrets.
Create a Consistent Approach for Assessing Risks & Taking Corrective Action
Enabling you to improve your risk management with consistency and data-driven insights, iReport is the ONLY digital workspace that manages workers’ compensation AND safety. iReport allows you to:
- Avoid complacency and manage risk – Reinforce behavior-based safety practices and stay OSHA compliant with an easy, consistent way to do safety audits, site inspections, and more.
- Improve outcomes – Have easy access to meaningful data and better utilize reporting to reduce incidents and provide a safer workplace.
- Implement an effortless incident workflow – Complete the FROI immediately onsite and manage the workflow with your team collaboratively—helping you to reduce the time spent handling incident reporting.