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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities
A newsletter header image with an image of Dan Bollman behind the title 'The Details with Dan Bollman'

Safety is a priority at IPF

March 24, 2016

At MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, safety is a core value. I understand that many of the tasks we are responsible for can expose us to hazards. On a daily basis, some of us work with potentially dangerous equipment, handle toxic and corrosive chemicals, access areas that expose us to falls and deal with temperature extremes. These kinds of conditions and many others put us at risk, so even a small, unintentional safety oversight could end up with someone getting hurt. I recognize this and am committed to doing my part to reduce the number and severity of the hazards we face in our work environment. In support of a safe work setting, I ask that every member of IPF do their best to work safely every day and encourage others to do the same.

As part of our reorganizing, Andy Smith, IPF’s occupational safety compliance officer, is now reporting to Support Services director Barb Wilber. Some saw the change as a sign that I think safety isn’t a high priority. To the contrary, this change strengthens our safety department for the immediate future. We made this change to provide additional resources to the safety office. The fact is, having Andy report to Barb gives him direct access to the person who manages our financial resources. This makes it easier for safety issues to get the priority they actually deserve. For the first time, Andy has an established budget that he can expend immediately to fix safety issues as they come up.

I recently had a chance to meet with Rachel Hutter, Disney’s vice president for worldwide safety. We discussed how important it is to put the health and safety of our workers front and center among an organization’s significant overall concerns. We agree that safety is a key to how satisfied you are as an employee, how engaged you are at work and how productive you are on the job. I care about those things, but the truth is I care about you and your safety more. I want to know that we’ve done everything we can to provide you with a safe and healthy work environment.

A quick look through the Safety Committee’s meeting minutes shows some of IPF’s current safety concerns, including noise level and hearing loss prevention, safe use of machinery, ladder safety, and the use of aerial lifts and forklifts. Recent icy/snowy conditions also brought slip and fall accidents to the forefront. In addition, Andy is always concerned about proper use of protective clothing and equipment and chemical safety.

Although Andy is our safety officer, all of us have a responsibility to watch for and report safety issues and to do everything we can to be safe at work (and at home). Take a look around your workspace with safety in mind. Do you see anything that is a potential hazard? Remember, accidents waiting to happen are opportunities to make things safer for everybody.

Until next time,