Meet Chris Ford, new manager of HAS Safety Management System

Meet Chris Ford, new manager of HAS Safety Management System

Q&A WITH CHRIS FORD
SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM MANAGER WITH THE HOUSTON AIRPORT SYSTEM

Please briefly describe your tenure with the city:
For almost five years, I have served as Houston Airport System’s safety officer and was responsible for employee safety training, safety audits, risk assessments, and accident investigations at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, William P. Hobby Airport and Ellington Airport. Previously, I was a supervisor in the City of Houston’s Solid Waste Department. I managed northwest Houston’s single-stream recycling collections. I started my career with the city as an Environmental Investigator II with the Solid Waste Department in 2012 where I ran the day-to-day operations of the city’s Environmental Service Center and organized community Hazardous Household Waste collection events around Houston.

What is your job title and how long have you been in your current role with HAS?
I was recently promoted to Safety Management System manager two weeks ago.

How were you introduced to safety? How did you become interested in it?
In my role as a HAZMAT emergency response manager, my guys and I were exposed to many hazards daily. I learned that it was my responsibility to ensure that my guys returned home to their families the way they left them. I gained a passion for safety and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Safety Management from the University of Houston-Downtown and a Master of Science in Occupational Safety and Health with a specialization in Environmental Management from Columbia Southern University.

What key message do you want COH employees to understand about the importance of safety?
Prepare and prevent instead of repair and repent. Prevention is the key to healthy safety culture.

In your newly created Health and Safety position with HAS, what projects are you and your team currently working on?
We are currently working on applying SMS components of safety policy, safety risk management, safety assurance, and safety promotion throughout Houston Airport Systems.

Does HAS have a safety committee?  If so, how often does the safety committee meet?
Yes, quarterly.

Are you familiar with the COH Risk Management ZIP (Zero is Possible) safety initiative? If so, how will ZIP work towards workplace safety for HAS?
Yes. ZIP will work towards workplace safety by pushing a positive change in our safety culture through assurance and promotion.

Can you list a specific example of improvement in workplace safety?
An improvement in workplace safety would be performing risk assessments as a group before a task is performed. That way all hazards could recognized, and risks could be mitigated.

Are you optimistic that you and your colleagues’ efforts are working?
Yes, I am. We have total support from our senior leadership in promoting a healthy safety culture.

Authors

Nichole Robinson