Interview – Paul Gooch – Consolidated Grain & Barge

Paul Gooch has 22 years’ experience in safety and also has experience working in public transportation, trucking, construction, and the grain industry.

Paul is currently the Safety Director for Consolidated Grain & Barge and has been with the company for 9 nine years.  He has two direct reports and six indirect reports.  The company has about 110 locations, mainly in the central US.

1) What do you feel are the biggest challenges safety leaders are currently faced with within their business?
Speaking for the competitive construction industry, the top three (3) would be; first, resources, followed by resources, with resources being a close third.

2) As a safety leader, what do you feel businesses continue to get wrong when it comes to their Health and Safety strategy?
Unknowingly and unintentionally reinforcing the wrong behaviors. For example, recently we had a manager visit a project and was pleasantly surprised to find all the work was proceeding ahead of schedule. The manager treated the employees to a lunch off site praising them for their efforts and told them resoundingly and in no uncertain terms, “Whatever you are doing, keep it up!”.

Unfortunately, the crew was limiting their breaktimes to keep ahead of the schedule. As the weather changed from warm to hot, the crew, reinforced by the managers praise, continue to maintain the pace.

On one of the warmest days of the year, one of the employees became dehydrated and began to show signs of heat stress. Fortunately, the other crew members were able to quickly provide cooling and first aid and prevent a serious health issue.

 

3) What are the latest trends and behaviours you predict will be surfacing on the market over the coming 12 months?
• Rethinking of the traditional observation and feedback processes to include less structure and more conversation to uncover organizational, process and system weaknesses.
• A resurgence in focus group based cultural assessments over the current “surveys” to allow for probing questioning.
• More technology based tools for millennials.

4) What is the best piece of advice you have received within your job over the years?
“Don’t do this as a job, do it because you care!”

5) What is one key takeaway you hope our OHS audience leaves with after hearing your presentation on site?
Safety is about people.

About Consolidated Grain & Barge
CGB has been an innovative and progressive leader in the grain and transportation industries since 1970, when it began modestly in a small office in St. Louis, Missouri with three employees. Today, CGB operates a global enterprise with over 2,500 employees overseeing a diverse family of businesses.

The company provides an array of services for grain farmers, from buying, storing, selling and shipping of the crop, to financing and risk management. CGB continues to be one of the largest shippers of grain on the inland river system.

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