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Safety Dialogue

Safety Professional & Leaders-2020

By February 4, 2021No Comments

The challenges safety professionals and leaders have faced this year have been extraordinary. The COVID-19 pandemic is that it has served as a crucial reminder that safety is of the utmost importance, and prioritizing safety will be critical to recover our businesses, our health and our lives.

The NSC Rising Stars of Safety program showcases up-and-coming safety professionals who are making a difference, from the workplace to anyplace. The 32 men and women we recognize as the 2020 Rising Stars of Safety hail from 17 states and five nations. Each has demonstrated enthusiasm, skill and leadership that will undoubtedly inspire future safety leaders and colleagues, helping people live their best lives free of preventable death and injury.

They lead by example and take a hands-on approach to safety, like Brian S. Bailey, safety and environmental stewardship director for The American Waterways Operators in Arlington, VA, who was so eager to learn about fall-overboard prevention and recovery firsthand that he took a plunge into the Ohio River.

They make sure that everyone who shows up to a job site is able to work safely, like Joshua Hughes, area safety manager for Clark Construction in San Diego, who worked to ensure subcontractors and employees are protected by hard hats and chin straps, and piloted an ingenious way to combat heat stress and dehydration.

They engage employees to consider not only physical risks, but to approach safety with a holistic mindset, like Leah M. Becksworth, industrial safety culture lead at UCOR in Oak Ridge, TN, who challenges colleagues to determine whether they are physically, mentally and emotionally ready to safely complete work tasks.

Their contributions demonstrate a passion for developing and improving organizational safety culture, like Waqas Ashraf, a health and safety manager at CSCEC in Dubai, whose Behavioral Safety Star program not only rewarded workers for positive safety observations, but boosted unsafe condition reporting and decreased injuries.

Each Rising Star has an inspiring and encouraging story to tell about how to make safety personal, about how we connect with each other around what matters most and how we can get to that next level of safety excellence.

The global focus on safety during this pandemic once again reminds us of the crucial role that safety professionals play in helping us all work, travel and live safely. As our world faces new safety challenges, the energy and fresh perspective of our Rising Stars will be called on to help us meet those challenges head on.

Lorraine M. Martin
President and CEO
National Safety Council

Waqas Ashraf

Age: 32
Health and Safety Manager
Emerson FZE
Dubai, UAE

“Waqas introduced the ‘Behavioral Safety Star’ program. This involves rewarding workers on a daily basis via use of specially drafted cards called ‘blue cards’ for observing any positive safety behaviors. These cards can be redeemed at the onsite cafeteria by workers for food and beverages. At the end of each month, a Behavioral Safety Star award is presented to the worker who has the highest number of cards. In the first month of implementing this initiative, positive observations increased to 85 compared to 14 observations last month, reporting of unsafe conditions increased by 300%, and employee engagement and consultation increased by 50%.”

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