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Industrial Health and Safety/Returning to the Safety Proferrion

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Michael,

I am a safety professional in the construction business who last year had an on-the-job accident (fall – broken back and neck). I have largely recovered from my injuries however with my experience being in the construction field and my doctors not willing to approve more than a “light duty” status, I am having some difficulty in identifying an area to reenter the HSE industry. While I love working outdoors, unfortunately walking extensively, ladder use, work on uneven surfaces and accessing heights appear to be out.

I am in the Houston, Texas area and the industry is rapidly expanding here, mostly related to the oil and gas industry in which my experience is limited. Training and OSHA related consulting with construction contractors is one of the more obvious avenues to take but the online  training industry and some more established firms have a good foothold in this business from what I have seen.

With your situation back in 1996 and you remaining active ever since, I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on some viable paths to consider.  I am a 64 years old CSP and I would consider slowing down or retiring but I still have a strong thirst for the safety business.  I am not adverse to learning new stuff or just polishing off the old I just fundamentally want to again contribute in this growing and what has been very rewarding industry.

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Subject: Returning to the Safety Profession

Question: Michael, I am a safety professional in the construction business who last year had an on-the-job accident (fall – broken back and neck). I have largely recovered from my injuries however with my experience being in the construction field and my doctors not willing to approve more than a “light duty” status, I am having some difficulty in identifying an area to reenter the HSE industry. While I love working outdoors, unfortunately walking extensively, ladder use, work on uneven surfaces and accessing heights appear to be out.
    I am in the Houston, Texas area and the industry is rapidly expanding here, mostly related to the oil and gas industry in which my experience is limited. Training and OSHA related consulting with construction contractors is one of the more obvious avenues to take but the online  training industry and some more established firms have a good foothold in this business from what I have seen.
    With your situation back in 1996 and you remaining active ever since, I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on some viable paths to consider.  I am a 64 years old CSP and I would consider slowing down or retiring but I still have a strong thirst for the safety business.  I am not adverse to learning new stuff or just polishing off the old I just fundamentally want to again contribute in this growing and what has been very rewarding industry.

Response: Drew, as indicated by my taking part in AllExperts I was/am not ready to give up completely on my profession. I was having a very enjoyable time when I had the stroke and it forced me into retirement far earlier than I planner or desired. Had it not been for the stroke I would have continued in Safety although it might have been in a part-time position. We were very fortunate and finances have not been a concern, and that has to be a major part of any decision.

There are any number of opportunities available if you look hard enough. The stroke left me confined to a powered wheelchair and I have several other issues which make being out of the home difficult. But if you look hard enough at least some satisfaction can be achieved even with a limited involvement such as AllExperts. I take great pleasure in the number of questions answered (currently over 500 questions) and the ratings I have. Along the time spent in occupational safety and health, I taught at the community college level for several years and can honestly say I seldom enjoyed myself more. I would resume the teaching tomorrow if an opportunity would present itself (there is an old saying about the most fun you can have with your cloths on - well for me teaching fits that bill). I have also though about the prospects of returning to school for an advanced degree.

There are also a huge number of "volunteer" opportunities with various groups in just about any area you might be interested in.  It just takes awhile to reach a level of involvement that will bring a high level of satisfaction.  We have retired to a small very rural part of the Pacific Northwest Coast and while local opportunities are limited, the internet makes a very large part of the world instantly available and finding things to do is not difficult. I also help found and for the past nine years have published a retiree newsletter for the agency my wife worked for and we have many friends from.

I admire your desire to stay active. I believe it can be of benefit to those you become involved with and I strongly believe it will benefit you in the end. The challenge is to explore and find one or more activities that can make use of your experience and knowledge and that may not be just safety opportunities. My personal advice would be to take a hard look at opportunities involving youth activities. Most groups are always looking for adults to help and not all activities require physical capabilities you may not have as the result of the accident. If you need to work for the income then there may be a number of openings with small firms and/or vendors that have a need but a limited budget. Some vendors are always looking for individuals who can train customers on certain types of equipment they sell - but as you might expect some degree of caution is necessary as not all vendors have the ethics that a person would be comfortable with.

I hope this response will offer a few ideas you will find useful. Please feel free to stay in touch as I am very interested in the direction you take. Also if I can answer any further or specific questions, feel free to ask.

Michael Brown, CSP Retired  

Industrial Health and Safety

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Michael Brown, CSP Retired

Expertise

I can discuss issues relating to the successful integration of comprehensive occupational safety and health practices into the successful operation of a manufacturing facility including production, quality and maintenance functions. My emphasis has been on supervisory training and the development of goals and measurement processes along with high levels of employee involvement. I always stressed the cost of accidents and their negative impact on the financial stability of operating units.

Experience

I worked in manufacturing/production (primarily forest products) in excess of twenty years. In my last employment (before retirement due to a stroke) I was responsible for the safety and health function for a division which had approximately 20 plants ranging from 25 employees to 600 employees. I interfaced with the safety staff at the locations and the managers and supervisors. I also worked with the support personnel including timber operations the headquarters staff and a flight department.

Organizations
American Society of Safety Engineers (Professional, Emeritus) Board of Certified Safety Professionals (CSP, Retired)

Education/Credentials
BS in Forest Engineering from Oregon State University, some graduate work at Portland State University in Public Health, a graduate of the Oregon Basic Police Academy and Certified Safety Professional (by examination). Various seminars, professional development conferences and classes throughout career.

Awards and Honors
See current ratings for AllExperts in the subject of “Occupational (OSHA) and Environmental Hazards”

Past/Present Clients
See current ratings for AllExperts in the subject of “Occupational (OSHA) and Environmental Hazards”

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