iReportSource hero, Paul Newton, is a Safety Director at Relay Express. He has 45+ years of work experience in the safety field and is retiring in August of 2017.
Why did you choose your profession?
I first started working in law enforcement until the early 70’s (10 years in law enforcement), doing investigative and undercover work. Part of this job was working with transportation, DOT, weigh stations etc. So, there was some kind of corerelarity between the two. The first company I started working with had theft and safety issues with trucks delivering food products. I chose safety, as I knew the regulations, could provide more for my family, and I knew how to make workplaces safer. I worked in safety since 1972 and am retiring soon.
What is the most important thing to do to be more effective in your role?
The most important thing to be more effective is the buy in from the executive management, particularly with smaller companies. It is hard to be compliant when the company does not care as much, especially in transportation. The less care a company showed, the more problems they had. You cannot succeed without the buy in from the executive team. I worked with different companies, but I would only work with those that treated my position as if it were a regulatory role.
Have you ever had an incident that changed you and how did you approach it with your role?
There was a fatality early on while working with a transportation company. Once the incident happened, they looked back at me for safety. I could not do anything to prevent that incident, because of the lack of buy in on better safety processes from the executive management early on. After that, I only worked for companies that would let me do my job as if I were a government regulatory specialist.
What do you want everyone to know?
To do this job, you need the executive buy in to enforce safety policies. The executive teams, CFO’s & CEO’s have very different roles. It is hard to operate in Safety, especially when dealing with the politics inside the company you work for. I would just need them to let me do my job and be compliant.
What would be your superpower?
To have everyone be in the same mindset as me in the sense that safety is very important. The safer a work environment, the more successful the company will be in every aspect.