An Interns Perspective on Safety

June 13, 2018 | Blog | Industry News | Safety Training

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This summer I had the pleasure to spend a brief internship period here at MSC Safety Solutions.  I recently graduated from Colorado State University’s Environmental Health program and wanted to get hands-on experience working in the safety industry as occupational safety was such an important component stressed to us in my Industrial Hygiene classes at CSU.  Getting to work with these consultants with their own experience in construction provided me with valuable resources during my time here in this area as I had very limited knowledge within it.

 

My time spent within this internship was split between the office and going out into the field to shadow the consultants on site inspections. I traveled throughout the Denver metro area and even up into Breckenridge and Keystone on these project site visits.  These visits revealed to me a completely different side to the safety world I had no knowledge of: the employer/employee relationship.

 

Safety is a passion of mine and seeing this interaction firsthand was enlightening in two regards.  One, I feel that in some cases the employers are too lenient and too dismissive of their employee’s health. And two, that the safety culture is greatly impacted by the employer’s attitude towards safety on the jobsite.

 

I became aware of the difficulties with enforcing safety policies and maintaining a training program for employees primarily due to a very apparent language barrier and the seasonal periods that many of these workers are staffed on projects.  However, people are people no matter their circumstances and their individual health cannot be sacrificed on account of training costs and project timelines.  With MSC’s new staffing of a bi-lingual trainer and consultant, much of the language barrier issues can be solved with some initiative of employers getting their workers the necessary training. 

The rest is up to the employer to stop looking at the dollar sign in favor of a human being’s welfare.  Safety culture is a top-down system, the foremen and supervisors are the catalyst for this system to work.  If the top makes safety a low priority than this ripples down through to the lowest man (or gal) working on the site.

 

I hope in the future that this changes and we all can begin to positively affect how safety is seen in all areas of the construction industry.  MSC is making great strides to change this, but with their interest in taking on new interns, it is up to them to continue to carry this beyond the Colorado area and take it further.

Kayleigh Yarbrough graduated from CSU with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health.  She is now moving on to the United States Army where she will be a trainer at Ft. Knox.  We wish her all the best and hope she keeps in touch.

 

Author:  Kayleigh Yarbrough