Gene Roberts, an Alberici Safety Manager with a recognized passion for safety, was the keynote speaker at the AGC of Missouri's annual Spring Safety Banquet earlier this month.
The banquet honors and recognizes individuals and organizations for leading and performing work safely. This was the second occasion where a “non-celebrity” presented the keynote address.
Gene has worked in the construction industry 34 years with experience throughout the US and Canada in heavy industrial projects, healthcare, automotive, food and beverage and energy markets.
He spoke of Safety Leadership, and talked of several key points that resonated with the audience whether they were apprentices, attending the banquet for the first time, or long-term career individuals in the construction industry. Briefly, they were:
- Listening to safety concerns
- Leading by example, experience and willingness
- Always approaching safety in a positive manner
- Recognizing responsibility for safety
- Encouraging the reporting of safety concerns and correcting problems
- Coordinating and overseeing work
- Realizing that skill levels may vary, so the buddy system and mentoring are essential
- Realizing that no one has any more responsibility for safety and making sure that safety issues are corrected than oneself
Gene also talked about the rewards of being a safety leader – not so much in terms of money, but rather knowing you can face yourself in the mirror every day and lay your head on your pillow every night knowing that you did your best and that you made a difference. He spoke about how much one's family and friends mean when you commit to working safely. He also discussed how employers, trades unions, safety personnel and project management teams have to believe in safety, train and educate the workforce, respect the workers and be consistent with our message.