By: Rob Miller, L Keeley, SLCCC Safety Committee Member

The career of a safety professional is often a little different than those in other professions especially when it comes to their professional development.  When the safety professional attends a conference, studies for a certification, reads a book, or joins professional association, there is a little larger end game in mind.  When the safety professional increases their knowledge, builds their network or stays abreast of the latest and greatest trends/knowledge, they do so unselfishly.  Their individual growth generates significant benefits and ultimately gets the craft workers home safely every day.

So, we must ask ourselves if we are doing all we can for our respective teams.  Are we attending the local conferences where we have the chance to learn?  Do we challenge ourselves to attempt certifications?  Are we active members of our local associations where we can network and discuss best practices?  What is the last book we read on either safety or leadership?

The St. Louis area provides a plethora of opportunities for Safety Professionals to get involved between Local chapters of national associations; ASSP, WISH, AIHA, GSHMM and GSLCSC as well as Owner and Contractor associations; SLCCC, AGCMO, STLHBA, MCA and many more.  These groups provide learning events too like the annual PDCs (Professional Development Conferences) hosted by ASSP, AIHA and the Greater St. Louis Safety Council.  Forums are held in the twice a year presented by the St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers (SLCCC).  Monthly meetings, membership appreciation and networking events are seemingly always being offered.  Are you involved?

On to the alphabet that you can put behind your name:  CSP, CIH, CHMM, ASP, OHST, CHST, CUSP, CSC, ARM-P, CET, SMS, CSHM – you catch my drift.  Yes, some can say that it simply means you passed a test.  I challenge you however to dig a little deeper.  The time and effort put forth to prepare – the insight gained by having to look closer at safety, management, processes, etc. – and ultimately the refreshed ability to share with those with whom you work and take on the responsibility for trying your best to keep them safe.  Let’s all admit, that’s a little more than just passing a test.  What have you challenged yourself to attain?

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers” – Harry Truman.  It’s amazing the nuggets of inspiration we can pick up from a good author if we just take the time to do so.  There are more books than you can shake a stick at on safety, behavior, leadership, event review, and I could go on.  A few suggestions that I could only hope have the impact on all readers as they did me:  “The 4 Disciplines of Execution” – McChesney, Covey & Huling, “The Non-Obvious Guide to Emotional Intelligence” – Kerry Goyette, “The Coaching Habit” – Michael Bungay Stanier, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” – Dale Carnegie, “Fearless and Persuasive Speaking” – Ken Bradford, “Building Career Equity” – Jan Torrisi-Mokwa, “The Checklist Manifesto” – Atul Gawande.  I’d be very interested to hear from those reading this as to what books have inspired them to be better.

Back to where we started – professional development.  I hope we all, but especially the safety professionals, have the drive to make ourselves better at our craft and hone our skills.  We have the ability, nay, the responsibility to help all our team members get home every day.  Stay safe out there.