Safety Q&A with Tommy Perdue

This is the next installment of myMohawk’s safety series, where we talk one-on-one with safety leadership across the Company about their roles, what safety means to them and how we can all live and work more safely. We talked to Regional Safety Specialist Tommy Perdue to find out more about what led him to a career in safety and why being proactive with safety is important to everyone.

6 12 tommy perdueHow did you get into the field of safety?

I got started in safety in the late 80s. I was an electrician working in maintenance for a new company, and as the facility started growing, they asked me to work with the insurance companies for worker’s compensation and other related issues. I was doing audits and putting plans together for how we were going to correct some of their safety concerns. My role kept growing until I became the safety manager. In that role, it was my goal to put our own training together so we could teach the employees and managers what was needed to keep our employees safe. I began my career at Mohawk in 2014.

Your role is a Regional Safety Specialist. Can you explain what you do and why it's important? 

My role as a regional safety specialist is help train the safety coordinators at each location. I help them learn all the required training that we do each month and help keep all files together and report any incidents in a timely manner. I work very closely with the managers and shift leaders to show the safety coordinators that safety is a team effort. I help with required trainings and act as a mentor for safety coordinators and employees. Also, I help teach all employees to THINK before they act by using two seconds to help them prevent or commit an unsafe act. 

This month's safety topic is power industrial truck and pedestrian safety. What do people need to know about that, and why is it an important topic to highlight?

This is an important topic, because it applies to everyone. Pedestrians and lift truck operators are responsible for safety. Being alert is key whether you’re the one walking or driving. My goal is to help all employees understand that we must watch out for forklifts at all times and make sure we stay away by using our 5-foot rule.

Other tips to remember are to always walk in walkways, stop at blind corners, never approach a forklift until you are sure the forklift driver has stopped, lowered the load, turned off the forklift and pulled the key out. Also remember that the forklifts steer from the rear, and if a forklift approaches your work area, back away until you are sure you are safe.

How can everyone make safety a priority in their role?

We need to make sure that each employee knows that they are the most important person when it come to their safety. If they think before they act, they will leave each day the same way that they reported to work.

Danville is one of my facilities that has really taken this approach to heart after an accident showed people the importance of safe practices. Along with more safety trainings and meetings, our biggest focus was having our managers on the floor more, communicating safety all the time and taking time to listen to our employees. We wanted our employees involved with all aspects of the safety discussion.

Why do you work safely? 

The reason I work safely is for my family. I want to go home just like the way I came to work. This is what I stress to our employees at all times.

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