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#45: The Adventures of Attila the Hun & The Hammer

December 18, 2019 | 44 minutes 13 seconds

In a series first, podcast host Jill James talks with a reigning American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) Women in Safety Excellence Safety Professional of the Year, Crystal! As far as impressive curriculum vitae goes in the world of occupational safety and health, Crystal is eating all the cake: Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Safety Management Specialist (SMS), past president of the Hudson River Valley ASSP chapter, organizer of the Blacks in Safety Excellence ASSP group, and published author in Professional Safety Journal. She owns her own safety consulting business and is known as the “Safety Diva”. Her story in safety is well worth the listen.

Transcript

Jill:

This is the Accidental Safety Pro brought to you by Vivid Learning Systems and the Health and Safety Institute. This is episode number 45. My name is Jill James, Vivid's Chief Safety Officer. And today I'm joined by Crystal Turner-Moffatt, who is director of safety at Waters Construction in Connecticut. Now Crystal and I have been trying to connect for a number of months to do this podcast recording and were having a hard time scheduling because Crystal is busy, like I cannot believe.

So Crystal, if you don't mind before we get into hearing your story, I just need to tell people what's been keeping you so busy. So Crystal has been awarded ASSP's WISE, Safety Professional of the Year, otherwise known as SPY. And for anyone listening, isn't familiar with what WISE is, it's the Women in Safety Excellence. And she got the award for Safety Professional of the Year.

She's also past president of ASSP, Hudson River Valley Chapter, and also the administrator of Blacks in Safety Excellence with ASSP as well. Crystal has recently published an article with the ASSP journal on women and mentorship and leadership. She also has been studying for and successfully passed on the same day, both her CSP and her SMS, and she is the owner of her own safety consulting company and goes often by the name of Safety Diva, which I can't wait to hear more about. So welcome to the podcast after all this time, Crystal.

Crystal:

Thank you so much for that wonderful introduction Jill.

Jill:

[inaudible 00:02:02].

Crystal:

It's a pleasure.

Jill:

I'm so happy that you're here to share your story with us. So, we have a lot to dig into with your career and where you've been. So let's get right into it. Crystal, what got you into safety, and at some point we want to hear about that Safety Diva piece.

Crystal:

Okay, well, my journey started in pharmaceutical safety actually, because I had a whole another career for 12 years as a researcher in labs.

Jill:

Wow.

Crystal:

I was premed in college, so I didn't have a plan B when medical school didn't work out. I'm so glad the plan that did happen was to be a safety professional, because I just love it. Safety is my passion. But I started out in pharmaceutical safety, having been in a lab, that was like the initial safety profession for me. And, I had been a professional in New York City doing inspections for restaurants.

Jill:

Oh wow.

Crystal:

That's environmental health. And I saw someone reading a toxicology book and I was, say like, "Where do you go to school?" because I would have been looking to do a master's. They told me before, if you get a master's and reapply to medical school, you'd be okay. But I was already happy with the lab work, and I saw someone doing best of on inspections. I was a public health sanitarian and they said they went to Hunter School of Health. so I found a master's program that was at night so I could still work at Hunter. And I really liked it. I did my master's program at Hunter and that led for me to learn about being a CSP. And I had been doing toxicology.

So basically I started out looking at the human aspect of environment, and how it affects human beings and their environment. And then I went to industrial hygiene with Hunter, and then basically people would say, "Are you industrial hygienist?" Say, "You're a safety person." I was like, "Well, I'm whatever's going to get me the job."

Jill:

Right.

Crystal:

And so it just followed a progression. And then I got into construction because that's where the risk lies highest, where most people and workers are hurt is in the construction industry. So, when I wasn't working for someone else, I started my own business, CDT EHS Consulting LLC as a safety professional firm. And whenever I wasn't working for someone else, I did my own work and just found my way in the construction field for safety.

Jill:

Yes. Wow. Interesting. So Crystal, I've got a backup, because I'm wondering if anyone who's listening here is that, you were an inspector for restaurants.

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

Yes. So do you still eat out?

Crystal:

Yes, I do, but I always walk into a restaurant and look for hats, and look for gloves, and look for certain key aspects that ... Because in New York, I could've spent all day in one restaurant giving out fines, because that's how you're trained.

Jill:

Yes.

Crystal:

But basically, you learn to maybe do four a day or something like that. But it was very interesting work. And they called me Attila the Hun in some of the places because I was very efficient with what I did, but I did love it.

Jill:

Uh-huh. That's funny you were called Attila. I was called the little Hammer-

Crystal:

Wow.

Jill:

... when I was an investigator because I was trained by an investigator ... When I was investigator with OSHA rather. I was trained by a guy who was known as the Hammer, because he hammered out so many citations. It wasn't that he was like, trying to be terrible to employers, he just knew the regulations book, like memorize them. He had them all memorized. He could spit them out and write them down. And he trained me. And so when I started doing my work, people called me the little Hammer. He was known as the big Hammer and his last name actually was Hammer.

Crystal:

Wow.

Jill:

And so that's how that went. So you're Attila the Hun. I was the Hammer. So we have that in common, high five Crystal. Now that's interesting. So from pharmaceuticals to construction. Wow. What a change. How did that go for you?

Crystal:

Because I had the laboratory background, it was a good transition for my first safety role when I graduated from Hunter to be in the pharmaceutical Valley, being familiar with labs and laboratory work. So I worked for a couple of bio-

Jill:

A biotech firm.

Crystal:

[crosstalk 00:06:48]. Yes. That's correct.

Jill:

Yes.

Crystal:

Biotech firms, and it was just a natural progression for me because I had that lab background.

Jill:

Yes. Interesting.

Crystal:

And the toxicology as well, because I used to belong to a Society of Toxicology, and the AIHA as well, before I settled in with the ASSP so.

Jill:

Yes. Right. I'm trying to remember from our previous conversations, did you do something with the transit authority as well? Did you do some work there?

Crystal:

Yes. Well, with my own company I worked for port authority for like a short time before I went to Marsh. I've kind of run the [inaudible 00:07:26], where I started out in pharmaceutical safety. I went to regulatory work and worked with New York City DEP, New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

Jill:

Okay.

Crystal:

And I kind of didn't want to be in the office anymore. I kind of felt like I wasn't being utilized and I actually ended up going out into the consultant field, and being one of those consultants that I used to regulate.

Jill:

Yes. Okay.

Crystal:

So that was very interesting. So-

Jill:

Yes, you got to see both sides.

Crystal:

Yes, I did it. And I've run all the way through working for insurance company. I worked for Marsh USA as a vice president and it gave me the perspective, I guess like 360.

Jill:

Yes.. And so how long have you been working in the construction trades now or with them?

Crystal:

About 15 years now.

Jill:

Wow. Interesting. What do you like about it? I mean, it's hard work and sometimes hard to get people to work safe.

Crystal:

Yes. And to take you seriously, especially as a woman in the field. I often would hear like, "How did you get here, and what's your story, and how did you get into construction?" Because they just couldn't believe when they see my resume, and people would call me in and just want to sometimes just to see if they could believe what they saw on paper. And it kind of was a bummer at times.

Jill:

Yes.

Crystal:

Because I would be going for a job, and they really just wanted to see-

Jill:

What's your credibility.

Crystal:

What's my credibility. Right.

Jill:

Yes.

Crystal:

And that's kind of like what construction's all about. When you learn the different trades, you really have to know the vernacular of the trades, because then the tradesman will take you seriously. So that's basically how I built my credibility. I was learning, asking questions.

Jill:

Yes. How did you-

Crystal:

[crosstalk 00:09:19].

Jill:

How did you do that piece, Crystal? What were some of the things that you did early on?

Crystal:

Well, before I would go and tell someone they were doing something unsafe, I had to know what safe was.

Jill:

Right.

Crystal:

So I would watch and ask an electrician or, "What is that called?" And they tell me, "We're working with conduit." Or I ask the pipe fitter what they're doing. I asked the carpenter. And I just like studied, and to study what they did. And then once I was able to get that amount of knowledge, then when I went to someone, I didn't go to them and say, just stop working and stop what you're doing. I basically say, how can we work together to get this to be safe? Because I had a fresh set of eyes. Some of them like have been working 40 years, doing this for you to tell me. But it's basically just working together, because you want them to go home and they basically know what's safe. And the guys would be very, and women will be very, very respectful of me once I showed them that I cared.

And that's basically what you have to do. You can't really go in as a cop, you have to be more of a coach. And that's when Safety Diva was born because I would come in and I have nails and I like to look good, but on the construction site, it's kind of dirty and messy or whatever. But I basically would tell them, you can call me Crystal, call me safety diva, because I consider myself a diva, and they would laugh and it was an icebreaker.

Jill:

Nice. So that worked, that worked for you?

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

I think this is good information for people who are listening, who are trying to break into our field. Sometimes people in those first jobs, and particularly in construction and it's like, "How do you do it?" If you're young or don't have experience in a trade, and you have to come in, being the authority but not being the cop. And what's that line that you walk?

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

And so you found your way to, I like what you said, how can we work together to keep you safe, and yes, show them that you care? So have you figured out how to do that in your career? For people who are listening, how did you demonstrate, showing people that you care?

Crystal:

Well, like I said, it's speaking their language.

Jill:

Yes. Okay.

Crystal:

I know a little bit of Spanish. So if I was speaking to a Spanish professional, a Spanish tradesperson, I try a little bit just to let them know I care, try to speak their language. So this is, if you would do that with the non-English-speaking person. Let's say you do that with person who speaks in a trade language. So I just let them know, when I see them, even though they say they've been doing it 30 years, 40 years, I'm like, yes, but maybe there's a better way you can do this. I'm not trying to tell you that you're doing anything wrong, but we want you to get home to see your family. We want you to see your grandkids. If it's a hearing issue, to hear your grandkids 20 years from now, to see your grandkids, you know this is an eye protection issue.

Jill:

Yes. That's great. That's a great way to relate it. Yes. To see and hear, feel. Yes. Like you can touch them with literally all their senses.

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

Which safety can impact all of them.

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

Yes.

Crystal:

And most of all in construction to have your life. And when you bring that home to them, sometimes younger people think they're invincible. Older people think they know a lot and it's not going to happen to them or that they know so much that it's not going to happen. But the statistics show that basically in that young range, and in older range is when most things happen in construction, with older workers and younger workers.

Jill:

Yes. Right. That was always my experience when I was working with OSHA as well, when I was called out to do fatality and serious injury investigations, it was almost always in my experience anyway, people who were just getting started in their careers, like very, very, within weeks or months of starting their jobs or really close to retirement. And there didn't seem to be a lot in the middle. But those extreme ends always seem to be where people got hurt.

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

Interesting. When you were talking, Crystal, about the different agencies you worked for in New York, and in New York City, what came to my mind right away was Frances Perkins, our first labor secretary who came out of New York, who worked maybe for some of those same organizations that you did. And now I feel like I need to find out which organizations in New York she worked for before she came our labor secretary, but she was doing some kind of inspection and enforcement work in New York when the Triangle Shirtwaist fire happened.

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

And she watched people, women in particular, as they jumped out of that building because the exits were blocked. And I'm just as I'm listening to your story and all the places that you worked and did advocacy for in New York, and I'm thinking, "Man, Crystal, I think you are following in Frances Perkins footsteps."

Crystal:

Oh, that would be an honor. [crosstalk 00:14:39].

Jill:

[crosstalk 00:14:39]. That's so cool. So anyway, now we have to find that out. Maybe somebody who's listening to this will be googling as we're looking. I know we can ask one of our friends who's in one of the early episodes of the show, who's a historian in safety ... Oh gosh, his name is escaping me right now. Mark, and I forget the episode number. We'll have to link it up. He's a historian who has talked about Francis Perkins and as well and has curated all of these films on historic people who've done the work of safety. And she's among them, and I think you're standing on her shoulders, which is pretty cool.

Crystal:

Wow. Yes, WISE for the hundredth anniversary of ASSP, E then, ASSE then, did a hundred year history of different women in safety and how-

Jill:

Yes.

Crystal:

... they've impacted safety. So yes.

Jill:

Yes. Please, I'd be interested to hear more about what that was like. And it's Marc Catlin that I was trying to remember, who is the curator of all of the people in history and safety. So he's got a YouTube channel where he curates all these films and vocal recordings of people who've done our work from centuries past. But Crystal, yes. Talk about about this Safety Professional of the Year, and what that's like. And maybe if people who are listening, who are a woman who's working in our field and isn't familiar with WISE, do you want to give a little shout out to what that's about?

Crystal:

Oh yes. Well, WISE is Women in Safety Excellence for ASSP, and basically I had been a mentor for WISE, as well I had a great mentees over these past two years, and 2018 I received a wise Mentor Award. And in 2019 I had a great mentee who just did great things. So it feels good. That program helps you impact another safety professionals life, guide them. They inspire you. That's one great program that's involved.

And it's basically just we have a monthly calls if you're a representative from your chapter. And everyone discusses things that they do in the community, things they do for safety, networking events and we just share. And then in our annual PDC, wherever we have it, last year was New Orleans. This year was Orlando. In 2020, we meet for a reception and we all get together. So that's a great time.

Jill:

Yes. Wonderful. And then I had mentioned early on, as long as we're talking about some of the organizations that you're part of, you're also the administrator of Blacks in Safety Excellence with ASSP. Can you talk about what that is for anyone listening who's not familiar and might be interested in being a member of that?

Crystal:

Yes. Well, just like Women in Safety Excellence, we have a specialization called Blacks in Safety Excellence, and I was the membership chair. I'm the assistant administrator and our administrator. And it's very important to be a role model for safety professionals that are up and coming and to also have a specific way to help those that might not know about the profession, and also you don't see that many of ... I know for me, I did not know there were any CSPs of color before I got into ASSP. And when I did see that, I really wanted to come to the national convention, I wanted to meet more. And then I just got inspired by others.

Jill:

Yes. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Crystal:

Our mission is just to bring the safety profession to people of color and who may not know. And young people, they have a young safety professionals organization as well, Hispanic safety organization. And so, Blacks in Safety Excellence is just for people of color who are African American to learn more about safety. And we have a mentorship program as well.

Jill:

Oh, fantastic. So if someone is getting started, who's listening, who is interested in being mentored, whether they're a woman or whether they're a minority, how would they go about, like raising their hand and saying, "Hey, I'd like a mentor." How does that part work?

Crystal:

Well, both WISE and BISE do have their mentorship applications on the website for ASSP. So you have to go there, which is assp.org, and you go to either of those communities you would see how to get in touch with the mentorship program.

Jill:

Okay. That's fabulous. Thank you for sharing that. One of the questions that I do get asked by people is, "How do I find a mentor? Like, how do we do it?" And I think it's so important in our field in particular because we're often solo operators, wherever it is that we're working.

Crystal:

Yes. That's why I wrote the article for ... I was asked by the administrative for WISE to do a best practices article. And the first thing I thought of was, and this was the August article. It came out, it was a all women's article, all women's edition rather of PSJ. And I vote on the power of mentorship and how it strengthens women in leadership roles, because women tend to get in certain areas, but we can't break into the C-suite roles, like I've been able to do at Waters, and we haven't had mentors and when we do have mentors, it's not always what we expect or what we can access so. I always believed that leadership roles for women benefit definitely for mentors because they can show us the way, and how to maintain those roles.

Jill:

Crystal, you're definitely laying your hands on change with doing that. There's a really unfortunate statistic that is out about women in leadership roles right now, and that it will take us, get this, 208 years to reach gender parody, meaning having equal representation at the table.

Crystal:

Wow.

Jill:

So maybe-

Crystal:

That's unsettling.

Jill:

It is unsettling. The work you're doing however, maybe we are going to see it shift to 207.5 and someone else does something like you're doing and we can change that. So thank you for that work and advocacy.

Crystal:

Thank you.

Jill:

That is wonderful.

Crystal:

You are welcome.

Jill:

Yes. So, I wanted to ask you, since your work has been in New York and New York City rather, has done some changes with regard to safety training specifically for the OSHA 10 and 30-hour, and I think it's through like the department of buildings or something. But since that's your state and where you work, for anybody else who's listening, who has contractors or people who are working in New York City, can you kind of explain what's going on with the law there so people understand what they need to do?

Crystal:

Well, basically the Department of Building's felt that the standard OSHA 10-hours needed on a construction site was not enough safety training for the construction workers who were working there or the superintendents, or journey persons foremen, all of that, because it was still too many incidents and accidents and injuries that were happening.

Jill:

Okay.

Crystal:

So they were requiring 30 hours of training, which most people would get the 30-hour OSHA that's required, but there's something called the SST, Site Safety Training card as of December 1st, which has passed already. 2019, everyone on a site has to have it, and isn't going to be an additional 10 hours of training needed by September 2020. That's basically what they're enforcing now, that supervisors have to get 62 hours to be a competent person.

Jill:

Okay.

Crystal:

And if you go to the Department of Buildings website, you'll see all the different changes. But basically it's based upon the fact that they felt that, that standard, 10 hours of training for our construction worker was not enough.

Jill:

And this is something that's specific to just New York City?

Crystal:

Yes, it is.

Jill:

Okay. And so this SST card that you're talking about, how do people go about getting that? Are there particular trainers-

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

... or online trainers that are able to do this? How does that work?

Crystal:

Well, online is pretty difficult. Some of them have just the OSHA part is online, but some of it, it depends on what you need. There are like, fall protection for eight hours. There's drug and alcohol training. There's job hazard analysis training. So depending on what you might need it, you would go to the Department of Buildings website and see what you already have.

Jill:

Okay.

Crystal:

You go again, and then you see if what you have is compliant with the SST.

Jill:

Okay. So it can take into account training that you've had before?

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

Okay. That's good to know. Interesting. And so does that website also like list who they should seek out for trainers or does it [crosstalk 00:24:31].

Crystal:

Yes, they have.

Jill:

Okay.

Crystal:

If you need your card and how to register for it, if you need training, different course, Department of Buildings always has several providers that they list. But basically there are a lot of providers, so it's not hard to find.

Jill:

Okay. Well, that's good. Thank you. And so there was New York City, basically it sounds like sort of, said, "Hey, we're having way too many injuries, we need to try to impact change here." Is that what-

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

[crosstalk] reasoning?

Crystal:

And [crosstalk] construction workers especially, because they didn't feel that, that 10-hour OSHA was doing anything at all.

Jill:

Yes. So Crystal, since you've been working in the trades for so long, I bet you've had opportunities to work with unions as well.

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

Yes. So can you talk about that for people who maybe don't understand completely kind of the nexus between unions and employers, and how that works with safety, and if you're a safety professional, how does that impact your job and what do you do? What are those relationships like?

Crystal:

Well, they have advocates that are different from non-union jobs. And so, sometimes it could be a little frustrating dealing with unions, because sometimes with safety you want to impose certain things that you can't, as far as getting people like not to be on a site or, it's just a little tenuous sometimes.

Jill:

Okay.

Crystal:

And it could be good as well, because union shops come with people who are trained, professionals at a different, they come with cars that, usually have all their credentials. It's not anything that they can make up, they use it to keep on track of that. So there's good and bad.

Jill:

Yes. So you've done both, I'm guessing?

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

Yes. In your work history, I know unions often have their own safety trainers as well. Do you sometimes come alongside and work with them? Does that happen sometimes or not?

Crystal:

Well, I'm a OSHA 500 trainer for construction. So in the past I've trained at unions, for [inaudible] union, for example. I've trained some of their workers. And so they do training well. They keep their workers compliant because that means that they can be placed on sites, especially government sites where there's prevailing wage and so forth. So to move them to have their workers trained well.

Jill:

Yes, right. Yes. So, when we talk about like, where do safety professionals work? Unions are one of those places. And so for people who are interested like, where can this career take me, what can it do? Unions are a place where you can also work as a safety professional.

Crystal:

Yes. That's one thing I like about safety. It really is my passion. But one thing I love about it is that, no matter what industry that you want to go into or that you want to work in, safety is a part of it now. I mean, ever since the OSHA act of 1970 and things have progressed, you can go to any industry and work in safety. Just pick an industry and you could be a safety professional in that industry. I don't think there's not one that doesn't have safety involved. A risk assessment or some form of safety.

Jill:

Yes, you're so right. And I think that's one of those things that people often miss. You talk about safety and people think, well that's just for construction or that's just for a factory, when really it's everywhere that a human being works.

Crystal:

Yes. And that's what job security.

Jill:

Exactly. I had an opportunity to do some guest lecturing this week in a safety program in the upper Midwest, and I asked all of the students, I think they were fourth year safety students, and I asked them to go around the room and talk about what their first jobs were, the very first thing they ever did to earn a paycheck. And people talked about agriculture work, or landscape work, food service work, naming offs kind of some of those first jobs that you might get when you're young. And then I always follow up when I ask people this question, did anyone have any safety training? And inevitably, it's crickets. You know those first jobs that people have when they're young?

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

Yes. Or you're the barista or you're working in some of these part-time jobs when you're essentially a kid and safety's often missed. And then we start talking about, but what hazards were you exposed to? And then I list off some things like, 'Did this ever happen or did you have this or was it ..." and they're like, "Yes." I am like, "Well, safety is literally for everyone. It does apply to every single person who's working, but it's often not regarded that way."

Crystal:

[crosstalk 00:29:44].

Jill:

So we need to keep evangelizing.

Crystal:

Yes. That's a good name. The safety of Angeles. That's [crosstalk 00:29:53].

Jill:

So you can be the safety diva and the safety evangelists.

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

That's great.

Crystal:

That's a great one.

Jill:

Yes.

Crystal:

Yes, I feel that, that's really, really important. I've been involved in a couple of events, working with sororities, working with other-

Jill:

Interesting.

Crystal:

... some groups. This is sorority in Brooklyn that has a career day. I've done a White Plains High School career day when I was working with Hudson River Valley Chapter to just make children and young people aware of ASSP, and what the safety professional has to offer, because the earlier we can get them involved, because most people say, "I didn't know about safety until I was well into my career, and I kind of fell into it." And it's not something that they knew about. Like for me, I didn't know until grad school.

Jill:

Yes.

Crystal:

And some people didn't know until like college, they were lucky. So it's something that you kind of fall into. Like you just said, accidental safety point and just fall into it. And you were the safety guy on the site and because you were the construction guy that didn't have that much to do, or you were the super that they said you do safety, and then it kind of became a passion for you. Because once you get [inaudible] safety bug, it's kind of hard.

Jill:

You can't turn. [crosstalk 00:31:05].

Crystal:

[crosstalk 00:31:05].

Jill:

Yes.

Crystal:

Yes. And like now, as a safety professional, as a CSP, I have an oath and the ethics part of it is that I can't turn my back from different things that I see. And no matter where I go, when I'm driving or looking around, I'm always seeing construction sites. I see something and it's like you know.

Jill:

Yes. You feel compelled.

Crystal:

Yes. You do.

Jill:

Yes. You feel compelled. Yes. What are great number of ways that you're giving back and talking about the profession, and really letting people know when you said you volunteer and you speak at places, safety as a STEM practice, and it's not often on the list when we're trying to talk with young people about the different STEM fields they can go into. So, that's an excellent way to give back to our profession for people who are listening, who want to be able to contribute to those career days, whether it's at your kid's school or in your community or college, raise your hand and offer that up for people who are thinking they'd like to give back. So Crystal, you started out by telling us that you have a background in toxicology.

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

How has that served do you throughout your career?

Crystal:

Well, definitely it gave me that background in chemicals and how, because we were talking about how I got started. Well, I told you I had a whole career as a researcher before, and it was in neuroscience research, and basically neuroscience is the pharmacology, toxicology of the brain. So everything that was environmental that affected the brain, interested me. And so that it served me just to know how you really are a Jack of all trades when you're a safety person.

People think you just babysitting for us at the construction field, babysitting for construction workers. But you really have to know sociology, psychology, biology, pharmacology, toxicology, biology, you just name it. You have to know it. And when things hit the fan, then you're ready to act. But there's so much going on. Regulations, compliance, so many areas that go into safety. And you'd be surprised for people that don't know you, people think you're just babysitting or you're just like going out to inspect or you're just a policeman for safety and it's not. It's just so much involved.

Jill:

Yes. Right. And that it's more than just the OSHA regulations. It's like you just listed off all of these areas and fields of study, which a 100% accurate I agree completely.

Crystal:

[inaudible 00:33:43].

Jill:

Yes. Right.

Crystal:

You have electrical. I mean, it's a lot.

Jill:

Yes. And so-

Crystal:

CSP exam was everything I ever learned in life.

Jill:

Oh my gosh. Wow. Congratulations again on passing that.

Crystal:

Thank you.

Jill:

Yes. But when you think about the list of things that you just listed off and you come across things as a safety professional in your career that you're like, "I didn't learn that in school or I have no tribal knowledge of that just from my work history and background." It's like, where do you dig in? Where do you go if it's not specifically covered in the OSHA regulations? And I'm thinking about how we really have to be researchers in this field.

I know that at one point in my career I was working in healthcare and I needed to learn about oncology, and specifically chemotherapy drugs. And we know that we have the, [inaudible] law, but I didn't know anything. Like I didn't know where else to dig. So I really had to start digging and discovered is it called the United States Pharmacopeia laws with medications and things, and kind of had to go down all these rabbit holes to figure out how am I going to safeguard these people? What does this look like? And I think that's part of our career is knowing, what rocks to turn over and where to look.

Crystal:

Yes. I think that's why I love safety so much because I inherently, I love research. I love digging and finding things and looking for the truth. And, I've always worked in the health profession or in some level of hospitals, like you mentioned, or research and hospitals. So I mean, it was just a natural progression for me. And even though I didn't become a doctor, I found out that I really love preventing people from getting sick rather than treating afterwards. That's my calling.

Jill:

Yes.

Crystal:

And I never Knew.

Jill:

Prevention.

Crystal:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). How many years have you been in the field now?

Crystal:

25.

Jill:

Wow. Yes. So we're saying, yes. That's great. So Crystal, you've written about supporting women in safety, would you have any tips for people who are females in this field who are on their way? Do you have any specific things that you'd like to offer up as best practices or advice?

Crystal:

Well, one thing I would say, I mean, in order to be credible, you do have to get your certifications. And one thing I do like about safety is that, if you're not a person who to be a safety professional, yes, but to the distance, be a safety manager or a safety engineer. If you're not one who decided you wanted to go to college or you ... You could get your OSHA 30, you could build on your certifications, you could become employed in the field without necessarily going to college. But I'm a proponent of education, so I would say, get educated, get your degree. There's so many programs you can get involved in. Find a mentor, find someone who once you get there, you can mentor as well to keep the cycle going.

Whatever you decide, whatever area you decide to go into, just do your research, get to know if that's an area you would like to be in, but one thing I do like about safety is very malleable. You can always change, but when you get locked in, it's like a specialty, when you're a doctor, you kind of keep finding a niche for yourself. So I would say do that, find a niche for yourself. As a so much in safety than there used to be in a general list it's kind of hard. And it's better for you to find a niche.

Jill:

And I think you've said that with your career, you followed the risk as well-

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

... when you were discovering your next move, and your next move with jobs. Do you want to talk about how that process worked for you in your head?

Crystal:

So as far as following the risk goes, just being involved in different projects on construction sites, I just saw that, that's where most people were getting hurt was in construction. And that's, like I said, I followed the risk, I followed where most injuries were happening and this was like a [inaudible] thing for me.

Jill:

Yes. And so it's kept you, not only engaged professionally, but also employed.

Crystal:

Yes.

Jill:

Right? Yes. Well, Crystal, it's your 25 years into it. Doesn't sound like you're slowing down.

Crystal:

I know. What's next?

Jill:

Yes. Right. What's next? What are you working on now?

Crystal:

Well, one of my goals is that, I'm interested in safety schools so I can empower and educate more safety professionals, those people who are underemployed and unemployed, to help them get into the safety field. So, that's one thing I am working on.

Jill:

Wonderful. Yes, that's fabulous.

Crystal:

And there are a number of ways, they have Sophie Davis grants with OSHA, and I've looked into that, working with several nonprofit organizations to see how we can train professionals for the future.

Jill:

Yes. To try to get more people into it.

Crystal:

Yes. I often find that I can't find, and a lot of companies say this, they just can't find credentialed and they can't find experienced individuals, that people are already working. One good thing about safety is that, there is a demand for people and jobs.

Jill:

Yes. And it appears to be growing right now, as so many of the people who started out in the safety industry, after OSHA came into being are retired or long retired, and there's a need right now out there for safety professionals who know what they're doing.

Crystal:

Yes. The president of Waters basically said one thing to me when I was hired. He said, there are a percentage of safety professionals that he feels like don't know what they're doing and don't care. And that's like a certain percentage. Then there's a percent who might know what they're doing, but they don't care. And then as the top 2% that know what they're doing, and they care. And that was one of the reasons why he hired me is that, he felt that I was one at the top 2%, which really we had a synergy and we really brought us together to try to continue to make the safety culture at Waters better.

Jill:

Yes, great.

Crystal:

So, I just strive and I hope that those professionals that don't care, start to care and you really do stand out when you are one who is a vocation and a passion.

Jill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yes. And I do think that, that's something that runs true. That runs true in our career. Well, Crystal as we are rounding out our time today, are there any last thoughts you have, things that you'd like to share with the audience or, best practices you'd like to leave people with?

Crystal:

First and foremost, I'd say, the most effective safety professional is one that cares, that coaches, that is charismatic in a way that you just show workers that you are on their side, and that it's not just about the bottom line. Yes, production matters. You want your employer to get jobs done on time and under budget and all that. But mostly as a professional, you're the advocate for the worker. And, so that's basically what I want to get across, is that we want people to, especially in the construction field, where's the highest fatalities, you want workers to go home safe to their families, the way they came in and you don't want to be a policeman on the job, because people will not react to that. That you want to be a coach, you want to be a confidant.

I mean, my main thing on the job site is that, I don't want people running from the safety diva, the safety lady, when she's coming, they're running away. I want them to come to me and say, "Crystal, I need safety glasses. Crystal, I need you to work with me on this particular project. How can we make it safe? We want to work together as a collaboration so." And you get that through earning trust, through learning what they do, putting yourself in their place, and as an emerging professional, as what I would suggest for anyone in the field, and if you're not doing that right now, to get on board.

Jill:

Yes, right. Fabulous. Crystal, I've taken a couple of notes just listening to you right now and you have a number of Cs associated with you that I think are wonderful ways to leave, to close out our time today. So Crystal, who emphasizes being caring, being a coach, being charismatic, being a confidant and collaborating. That's beautiful Crystal. Thank you so much for your time today and sharing your wisdom.

Crystal:

You're welcome. It was a pleasure, Jill.

Jill:

And thank you for spending your time listening today. And more importantly, thank you for your contribution, making sure your workers, including your temporary workers, make it home safe every day. If you'd like to join the conversation about this episode or any of our previous episodes, follow and join our page on the Accidental Safety Pro community group on Facebook. And if you're not subscribed and want to hear past or future episodes, you can subscribe in iTunes, the Apple podcast app or any other podcast player that you'd like.

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