Inspiring Workers to be ‘Serious about Safety’

Photo of Al Trotz

Interview with Al Trotz

A workplace injury can cause plenty of disruption. There’s the personal impact on the worker — pain, perhaps a hospital stay — and, the business loses the worker’s skills and experience while they recover.

Brandon’s workplace health and safety professionals are on the front line, using their expertise to help employers and workers learn how to stay safe. Among these operatives is Al Trotz:

Left quotation mark I love coaching hockey and see parallels with working in health and safety. Coaching deals with motivating and mentoring people, which is what I do at work every day.

I’m dealing with individuals who come to work, or play a game, and at the same time have other needs, values or beliefs.

I need to take into account what’s going on in their whole life. As a health and safety person, I’ve got to understand people in order to be able to help them be safe.

I’ve been working in the health and safety area for thirteen years and have been at this job for three and a half years.

I hadn’t worked in a manufacturing plant until I came to Behlen, so there was lot to learn.

I needed time to talk to everyone and have them explain the processes they went through to do their job. While doing that I built relationships with them.

Once those relationships were strong, people knew they would be listened to when sharing ideas and concerns.

I’m here to help, and I act to solve issues right away. They run the equipment every day, so getting their input about what could be done better is invaluable.

It’s not just ensuring people are safe but that the equipment they use is safe — that means checking it every day before starting work to make sure everything is in good working order.

I’ve built on the systems that were in place when I came here. I always like telling people about why we do things, and remind them to stop and think every day.

I brought in a pre-task hazard analysis program that I used when working in the oil and gas industry.

Each day the worker fills out a card identifying what they are doing that day, the hazards associated with the job, and how they can protect themselves.

Now I read these cards and see the progression from day one to how people are doing their cards now.

The information is more in depth — they are thinking more about what they are doing,

The program is voluntary. The incidents for people who fill out the cards is at zero —they are always reminding themselves to be careful.

The people who don’t do the cards always have one or two incidents.

I do safety training with new hires, look after personal protective equipment, work on return to work programs, investigate incidents and make recommendations.

Everybody here says ‘Al, you’re pretty passionate about what you do’. And I am.

I watch webinars, take courses and read articles to stay abreast of what’s new and exciting in the safety world. You can never stop learning about what’s going on out there. Right quotation mark

by Brandon Now

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