Fostering Excitement for Safety

It was ten years ago now that I learned of  Wisconsin Safety Council (WSC).  I’d been working at a local Pharmaceutical Manufacturer since a week out of college.  I’d just been promoted into the Research and Development team and was so excited to be able to use problem solving to get my clients the active pharmaceutical ingredients they needed.  We used a variety of chemicals, reagents and a pretty large array of equipment in a small lab space to create miracles in a box.

It was the realization that using those chemicals, which may or may not have been used together in such a way, with such equipment, and without a lot of time to plan, or perhaps, to have as many engineering controls in place as ideal that got me to talk to my EHS director.  He was somebody that I looked up to, a person that I was comfortable with, a person I could bring my questions to and would not only get me what I needed, but saw that I had a real passion for safety, and he wanted to fan that flame.

So he signed me up for the Principals of Occupational Safety and Health course or POSH at Wisconsin Safety Council.  My company had been members for years at WSC but hadn’t sent folks to class for some time.

POSH is a class taught by Wisconsin Safety Council that prepares participants in an understanding of basic occupational safety and health terminology, principals, and practices.  It gave me a broad overview of what it really takes to build a quality program, to bring my folks home.  To look at a workplace, with its own unique challenges and find the tools I needed to assess the various safety and health issues that come up with the wide variety of working environments I had.

In me, it sparked something, the quality trainers at Wisconsin Safety Council got my whole class talking.  It was made up of HR professionals, people that had safety in their main job description, team leaders, and people that had never had any safety training at all and came to learn.  You could tell, the shared experiences let people know that they weren’t alone, that they had friends in their corner.  I mean, after all, safety should be on everybody’s priority list.

After taking POSH, I couldn’t wait to take more classes, to achieve my Advanced Safety Certificate.  It took me a while but I got there.  After 20 years in the fire service, and 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry, I’ve had my share of quality trainings.  Wisconsin Safety Council is quality.  The people, the training, the work you generate after they give you the tools, and it all starts with POSH.

Author: Aaron Huebner, WSC Executive Director

Wisconsin Safety Council