Safe and Sound Week is observed from August 9-15, 2021. Led by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Safe and Sound Week is a nationwide event to recognize the adoption of programs to improve workplace safety and health.
Keith Odom has been many things in his career: a firefighter, EMT and even an airplane pilot and flight instructor. Today, he’s EquipmentShare’s safety manager — a role he calls “the safety team dad”. Keith is responsible for keeping a watchful eye on the safety and wellbeing of thousands of our team members and helping to instill a culture of safety, a benefit that is passed on to the thousands of customers we have throughout the country.
Even with innovative safety technology at our fingertips, we need a person like Keith to make the “machine” work. Keith leads a team responsible for teaching and training on OSHA standards and best practices to keep everyone safe.
“OSHA requires that we provide, at a minimum, a safe work environment free from recognizable hazards,” Keith explained. “We must provide a safe workplace and that starts with communication and proper training.”
You might say keeping everyone safe is a calling for Keith. He spent years as a firefighter and emergency medical technician reacting to accidents and problems. Now he spends his time focusing on preventing them.
EquipmentShare’s safety team has created a program called 52 Weeks of Safety. Each week, a new topic is discussed during the safety meeting, ranging from “situational awareness” to “bloodborne pathogens”. Every EquipmentShare location is on the same schedule, so each team receives the same training in safe practices.
“We also have specific local training because what’s going on in Pennsylvania may not be going on in Texas and we need to keep on top of local issues,” Keith said.
Each location also has a monthly self-inspection that involves walking their location and looking for any potential hazards, or as Keith says, “Watching out for little things before they become big things.” Tasks as simple as making sure the exits are clear and the first aid kits are stocked keep each location running safely. Monthly inspection reports ask questions as simple as ‘is your area free of trash’ and ‘does your workstation have enough lighting?’ Each item on those inspections keeps every location safer.
“When we review incidents, we look at the human element,” Keith explained. “We want locations with zero incidents to know about locations that have had an incident so we can take away that mentality of ‘it would never happen here’ that is part of human nature. When we openly discuss these things, they become more aware.”
The safety team also looks at monthly incident reports to discover training needs. They can see which teams need more attention and which teams are doing well. Teams with zero incidents are rewarded for their safe workspaces with added incentives.
The EquipmentShare safety team is made up of other safety rock stars including Safety and Risk Specialist Joshua Lakins, Regional Safety Manager Roger Lafferty, DOT Compliance Analyst Megan Smith, DOT Trainer Tim Lovell and Regional Safety Manager Michael Karobinoff. Thank you for keeping us safe!