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 Senior Safety Specialist Donny Caylor to find out more about what led him to a career in safety and why being proactive with safety is important to everyone.
How did you get into the field of safety?
I started working in shipping at Mohawk in 1993. The Logistics safety group began to grow, and I was recommended for a safety coordinator position because I have a background in public safety with fire and EMS. I took the opportunity and started out as the safety coordinator at Duvall Rd. Distribution. Now, I have nine different distribution centers that I work with.
Your role is a Senior Safety Specialist. Can you explain what you do and why it's important?
I work closely with managers, supervisors and especially safety coordinators on a daily and weekly basis to make sure they stay in a constant state of compliance with federal and state regulations. I always try to be proactive in finding ways to improve on our current processes to make them even safer. So, it’s about maintaining while also constantly looking for better, safer ways to get the job done.
I choose to be a “hands on” manager. It’s important to me that every team member, no matter their position, knows that I am concerned for and care about their wellbeing. They know this because I am constantly out on the floor talking to them and listening to them. It is also important to me that my safety coordinators, who, by the way, are an extraordinary group, know that I will never ask them to do anything that I would not do myself.
This month's safety topics are heat stress and safe lifting. What do people need to know about them, and why are they important topics to highlight?
Heat stress is a concern, because left unattended, it can be deadly by leading to heat stroke. Everyone needs to be aware of the signs and symptoms of what leads to heat stroke so they can take care of themselves and report it to someone if they spot the symptoms. Hydration followed by proper rest are the main two ways to combat heat stress. It can be a challenge in the summer time to get enough sleep and rest because it’s nice and pretty outside, but it is important for combatting heat issues.
Safe lifting is also important because the majority of the logistics injuries we see are muscle injuries or strains. Everyone should go through the list of eight keys to safe lifting and have that memorized.
How can everyone make safety a priority in their role?
Think before you act. Be deliberate in every action and every task you take. My personal safety program is simple, “if it’s going to hurt you, don’t do it.” In every incident in the past year that I have dealt with, the person has told me they just weren’t thinking about it and thought they could do it that way. Thinking before you act can and should fit into everyone’s daily tasks.
Why do you work safely?
For me, there’s two parts of why I work safely. One is that I’m committed to my wife and son. They depend on me, and I want to be the best dad and husband for them, so I have to work safely because of that. And the second reason I work safely is, because I hope to be an example for my team members so that they too can be there for their loved ones.