Faces of the Industry
Faces of the Industry
Name: HB Simpson
Company: Allied Systems (VA)
Position: Safety Coordinator
Years in the industry: 17
•|• How did you get into the industry?
I retired in 1994, after working over 35 years for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. However, shortly after I retired, my son-in-law’s father passed away leaving him and his family to run the company. At first, they just needed help getting odds and ends done, but eventually I found myself overseeing a lot of the plant maintenance. Eventually, my role expanded to taking over managing their safety program.
•|• What would you say is the primary focus of your job responsibilities?
I would say it’s to create and maintain an environment of safety and to keep our guys healthy. It also includes doing a good job of training, both for our new employees, so they work in a safe manner and avoid hurting themselves or others, and for our veterans so they are aware of changes in rules and regulations in case they may have to alter how they do things. I have found that quality and safety go together like hand in glove, so I’ve also been helping the company implement SBCA’s QC and Operation Safety programs. They have really helped us improve the quality of our product.
•|• What do you mean by an ‘environment of safety'?
Just that everyone is aware of the hazards that may exist in doing their job, and they are trained and focused on avoiding actions or behavior that increases their risk of getting hurt.
•|• What is the biggest challenge you face in doing your job well?
I would say it’s keeping up to date on all the federal, state and local regulations, and simultaneously keeping our training programs up to speed as they change.
•|• Have you found a method that helps?
At least once a year we bring in someone from the state OSHA office to inspect our plant and help us identify areas for improvement. They have a different perspective sometimes, and are good at getting us to see things from an inspector’s point of view.We are also focused on implementing lean manufacturing in the plant, which not only makes us more efficient, it also reduces many opportunities for injuries.
•|• How have some recent OSHA rule changes affected what you do at your plant?
One of the most significant things has been OSHA’s focus on combustible dust. We’ve gone ahead and installed dust collectors to gather the sawdust coming from the saws we have running inside the plant. Another big change has been the residential fall protection rules. We have framers in the field, so we had to go out to the jobsites, both single-family and multi-family, to ensure they are following OSHA’s new standards. We had to buy some new lanyards and harnesses. The cost wasn’t too bad, but training them to do what OSHA wanted them to do was a challenge.
•|• What is your favorite part about working in this industry?
Keeping up with the OSHA mandates and making sure everyone is safe. It feels good to know I am helping others avoid injuries and unnecessary risks. I enjoy documenting everything we are doing, and following through on all our checklists to keep up with everything we’re supposed to be doing.