Get to know IPF: Bryan Cummings
July 27, 2020
Bryan Cummings wanted to make a real difference in how safety is practiced in the workplace. And, although he has been IPF Power and Water’s environmental health and safety (EHS) officer for just over a year, his impact is undeniable.
“I don’t believe I’ve changed the course of the river, but I’m sure I have left the river changed,” Cummings said. “In my 25+ years in the industry prior to coming to MSU, I experienced aggressive EHS people that thought safety compliance was a weapon to use against employees.”
He added, “I did not care for the treatment or their approach, and one day I recognized an opportunity to change things and possibly make a difference in the industry so I jumped at the chance.”
Since taking on the challenge of being the first EHS officer at IPF Power and Water, Cummings’ focus has been on creating a new safety policy that will assist staff in maintaining compliance while creating a safer work environment for all.
“I try to present safety as something every employee can own,” Cummings said. “My goal is to help employees find the right balance between safety compliance and getting their work done efficiently.”
And the COVID outbreak has made his job even more demanding.
“My greatest hurdles are continually educating myself with the newest mandates and recommendations and keeping enough personal protective equipment (PPE) in stock for our employees,” Cummings said. “Working in high-heat conditions, we use the buddy system to monitor each other’s heat stress, and physical distancing requirements can make that more challenging, but we are making it work.”
Even though the demands of working in a facility where he is routinely called upon to address issues arising from the inherent challenges in working with fire, steam and electricity keeps him on his toes, Cummings’ appreciation of his team members keeps him coming back each day even more energized.
“I take satisfaction when I have been able to help someone go home at the end of their shift safely,” Cummings said. “Coming from the trades, I have a deep appreciation for what our team does day in and day out, and I really enjoy my interactions with our tradespeople.”
Outside of work, Cummings is a serious outdoorsman and a dedicated cottage goer – he plans on retiring with his wife at their lake house. He has also started home brewing as a hobby.
“It’ll cure whatever ails you,” Cummings chuckled.
When asked for his advice to fellow employees, Cummings had this to say.
“Expecting things to change without putting in any effort is like waiting for a ship at the airport. Safety and compliance are not ’accidental.’ The hard work and credit go to all our plant employees.”