Safety Awakening – “Being A Safety ‘Generalist’ Does Not Cut It”

May 9, 2014 No Comments

In the early part of my career as a safety professional, I considered myself to be a “safety generalist”.  I’d visit companies and consult with them on:  safety culture,  safety policies, training, and OSHA compliance.

I was a “generalist because when I was young and had limited knowledge of  industry specific practices and exposures.   I now realize that being a “generalist” will only get you so far.  To be truly effective in this business you must also be familiar with the hazards that are unique to the type of industry you are working with (or for).

For example, when you visit a meat-packing plant, do you know what type of “hide-puller” or “head splitter” is the best from a safety standpoint?   When you visit a large distribution warehouse, do you know that there are numerous different ways of picking product, and that one method of picking has been proven to be much safer than the others?

Before you visit a car wash, you need to know that certain automatic transmission Jeeps have caused serious injuries (and even fatalities) to car wash employees when the Jeep unexpectedly accelerated when being driven off of the wash line to the drying area.  To prevent these types of injuries, car washes require Jeeps to be placed in neutral and pushed off of the line (see photos below).

If you will be making a safety visit to a type of operation that you are not familiar with, you need to do your research before visiting them to discover industry specific hazards that you will likely encounter.  The best place to start your research is our “Ultimate Safety Search Engine” and our “My Industry” directory!


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