A Firefighter and EMS Professional by trade, Safety Hero John Breig gained first-hand knowledge of how proper safety management could be the difference between life and death. After almost a decade as a first-responder, Breig transitioned into the safety space working with a fast-growing construction firm.
Now, Breig is the Safety Director for Bambeck & Vest Associates where he uses his unique experiences to foster a culture of safety success.
Why did you choose your profession?
It was a gradual transition. I worked as Firefighter and EMS professional at the beginning of my career. Through that, I learned a lot about safety and its’ importance in the workplace. My father was part owner of a growing construction firm in the region. As it grew he and the owners of the company asked me to come work for them. Given my EMS background, they asked me to take over their safety program and I’ve been in safety ever since.
What’s important to be effective in your role?
Time management is the single most important skill of a safety professional. We have to be able to do many different jobs, efficiently, and correctly in order to succeed.
Have you ever had an incident that changed you and how did you approach it with your role?
I can’t point to a specific incident, rather, my entire experience as a firefighter and EMS professional. It’s tough to realize how amazing and short our lives are until you experience death first-hand. I saw it time and time again, and it made me realize how lucky we are to be alive, and safety is no joke. Safety is a matter of life and death.
What do you want everyone to know about safety?
Safety within an organization is just like a chain – only as strong as its weakest link. If any person “slips up” at any time, someone could be injured or worse. An organization could have the best safety program and process on paper, but if the people at the top don’t properly work with the people on the front-lines, the safety program is useless. Everyone needs to promote a culture of safety.
What is your superpower?
The power of foresight – the ability to know when something is going to go wrong. I’ve been in this business for a while and I’ve seen so many incidents that I can now tell when something might happen. Safety professionals have to be that way!
If there was one thing that you could change about how safety is managed, what would it be?
I’d remove the time and budgetary constraints that undermine safety programs. Worker safety shouldn’t be seen as an expense – it should be one of the most important investments in a company.
2016 – A Record Year in Safety
2016’s OSHA Fatality Statistics were just released and it was a record-setting year for fatal injuries. over 5,000+ fatalities happened on the job – the highest number in 4 years. Why the increase? Check out our most recent download to learn what caused the increase, and how you can make 2018 the best year yet!