In these diverse times, industrial product distribution is completely overhauling itself. Everyone is trying to be everything to every customer. The outcome of this is that specialization is really becoming less and less of a focus. For a lot of companies who run lean in the area of in-house safety expertise, this is unfortunate. Specialists add value.
There's a lesson to be learned here for your own career as an employee and team member within your company. Perhaps you've felt the pressure to diversify your skills and exposure to various jobs that have to be done. How can you stand out? The key is to diversify within your category of specialty. This means to be able to “become the expert” within your category of knowledge. Let's say you choose "safety" as the subject matter that you want to be known for. When faced with a jobsite situation, perform a SEAT analysis from a safety perspective:
S - See the need
E - Evaluate the situation
A - Assess possible resolutions
T - Take action
Managers and co-workers will recognize you as a resource. Once you are seen as a resource, you will be called upon to resolve issues. You become the Solutions Person. Sometimes this will involve a need that doesn’t fall into your personal area of expertise. Be ready to recommend another Solutions Person (or vendor) who may be able to help. That's also a solution!
Recently we were called in to help with a sticky situation involving work that had to be performed in a confined space in order for an important project to be completed on time. David, the Solution Person, had worked with ORR Safety before at a different company and he knew we had a lot of experience with both managing PPE for confined space and service solutions specific to that category of worker safety. This particular application needed support from "start-to-finish." Working with David, we provided the right mix of equipment for the project (safety harnesses,self-retracting lifelines, tripods, rope grabs) and we performed competent person training as well as confined space instrument training. It was just the answer he was looking for, and David was able to successfully keep the project moving on schedule without compromising the safety of his co-workers.
Solutions People are valuable. Choose your specialty and become the go-to person. It not only helps with job security, it's very gratifying.