Steve Nelson & Brendan Kinsella, EKU alumni share insights on getting into the field of safety and skills needed.
My name is Steve Nelson, I’m with International Fire Protection. I’ve been with them for 15 years, we have 10 offices throughout the Southeast United States, and our motto is life safety is our business.
The qualities or skills we look for in a safety professional is they’re gonna have to be a professional first and foremost. They’re gonna have to be personable, they’re gonna have to communicate effectively, they’re gonna be able to have soft skills and office skills, job skills, interpersonal skills. It’s not gonna be just a one size fits all, they’re gonna have to wear many hats and be able to be proficient at many things.
If I had to give anybody advice as far as getting into safety or starting a career in safety, is to get your training, go through a curriculum such as EKU’s safety training or safety degree program. Also, not stopping there, never being satisfied, always going for the CSP, the certified safety professional, going for all the other possible certifications you can, ’cause it just makes you more marketable. Get all the training you can online, in person, and through local periodicals, magazines, anything you can. Just get all the information you can and absorb it.
People that wanna get in safety, they gotta be passionate about it, a lot of times, you gotta wear some big shoes and you gotta have broad shoulders.
You gotta know that the decision that you make could possibly affect somebody’s life, where if you make the wrong decision and tell somebody that they can do something, and they mess it up, then that could be their life, especially in the construction industry. Or you could save a life and send ’em home, which I like to tell my guys, “I’d rather send you home and let you tell your family why you’re home instead of having me call your family and tell ’em why you’re not home,” and that seems to get the message across pretty quick. People looking into safety, you’ve gotta be passionate about it, you gotta be willing to do it.