This is the next installment of our 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 Mitch Chastain, manager of security-loss prevention and safety, 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 began my career in the military, where I spent 24 years in two different branches in varies roles. One of the most important roles was that of a safety officer. After completing my military career, I spend a number of years in law enforcement as an accident investigator, reconstructing serious accidents and fatalities. I then spent 13 years at another company working in safety and compliance type roles before joining the team here at Mohawk, which was five years ago this year.
Your role is Manager of Security-Loss Prevention and Safety. Can you explain what you do and why it's important?
I do several different things in my job. I currently manage safety for all of Logistics, Pad Division, and the Wood and Laminate team. I also lead loss prevention and security. Overall, my role is most importantly helping all Mohawk employees go home in the same condition as they came in that day.
This month's safety topic is powered industrial truck and pedestrian safety. What do people need to know about that and why is it an important topic to highlight?
The truth of the matter is, any time you have a pedestrian and lift truck interact in the workplace, it has the potential to be disastrous if the right protocols aren't followed. We put controls and processes in place to make sure to provide the greatest degree of safety for our people. It cannot be any other way – policy is for everyone's benefit.
Some of the most common mistakes people make are things like walking across a pathway of a lift truck without first looking, not getting eye contact with the drivers, not waiting for the lift truck to shut down completely before walking up to them, drivers not blowing horns when they are supposed to or properly managing speed, especially in pedestrian areas.
All of those things happen when people aren't aware of their surroundings, get in a hurry or don't take a moment to stop and consider what they're doing.
How can everyone make safety a priority in their role?
Everyone should remember to follow the stop and think safety foundation. Stop and think before you act. And remember what the acronym T.H.I.N.K. stands for: Train yourself to look for the hazard or risk in every task, Hone your understanding of the job or task, Identify the hazard, Never sacrifice safety for speed, and Keep others safe.
Remembering to stop and think can be one of your best defenses at keeping yourself and others safe.
Why do you work safely?
I work safely for my wife, my children and my grandchildren. I also work safe for every other employee that works with me, because my actions can affect them as well.