Focus on Safety Helps Humans Succeed

Lorraine M. Martin discusses her leadership role at NSC and the significance of National Safety Month.

Lorraine M. Martin
June 17, 2019

Safety always has been at the core of what I do because, first and foremost, my job as a leader is to serve the wellbeing of the team. On top of that, I am an engineer. Engineers are compelled to find the cause of challenges and implement effective solutions to resolve problems.

I went to college knowing I would enter the U.S. Air Force upon graduation. My commissioning was a position as a computer resource engineer. As such, I was assigned research projects to explore how software could best serve our service women and men.

I spent more than three decades in the aerospace industry, and I was proud to support and encourage diverse teams to reach new heights, including the crews that built C130 cargo planes and F-35 fighter jets. For these dedicated professionals safety is the priority. I oversaw their handling of one complex task after another, meticulously building a world-class system that – because of its safety record – earned international trust.

With every challenge I’ve undertaken, from building complex computer systems to fighter jets, to overseeing a major acquisition and working to establish a successful workplace culture, I have strived to be both an asset and an advocate for the people around me so that we can move forward with maximum focus and impact.

After 35 years in the industry, I wanted to continue having a direct impact on safety and security of our world, but from a different perspective. I have found that opportunity here at the National Safety Council. As the president and CEO, I am excited by the challenge of addressing preventable deaths at work, at home and on the road. I truly believe in our mission to eliminate those deaths and to help people lead their fullest lives.

Robert W. Campbell, the Council’s first president, always said that safety is about doing things “the right way.” As I learned very early in my career, the “right way” is ensuring we all go home in the same condition we arrived to our job every day. And, when we go home, keeping our families safe by knowing the biggest risks to their safety and taking direct action to mitigate them.

That is what the National Safety Council does: It examines the trends, follows the data and pushes employers, government, advocates and other organizations to do what must be done to save lives. The opportunity to help advance that effort not only excites me, it is also a powerful capstone to a high-stakes career, where safety couldn’t be sidelined.

I have always looked for ways to make sure that every human being can succeed and achieve their dreams. It is this belief that fuels me to serve, and it is this goal that I always carry with me to make sure we create a better world for everyone around us. My first days on the job have shown me that not only is NSC an organization with a great mission, it’s an amazing and dedicated team passionate about keeping people safe wherever they are.

The opportunity to join the team for the Green Cross for Safety Awards Celebration enabled me to see firsthand the impact of our partners in the extended safety community – professionals through and through. Bringing home to our Itasca office the Chicago Fire cast-signed fire chief’s helmet (pictured) was icing on the cake.

It also seemed appropriate to begin my tenure during National Safety Month, because it is a tangible way to connect with the Council’s noble mission. National Safety Month raises awareness for safety on and off the job and shares best practices to address commonplace safety issues. Whether we are working to improve our hazard recognition skills, figuring out ways to address issues like slips, trips and falls, fatigue and impairment, we can always do more to protect those around us and follow proven ways to keep each other safe. If you have not yet participated, I encourage you to do so. The materials are available for free at nsc.org/nsm.

I look forward to more opportunities to learn and experience our work in action, find new ways we can support our people and our members and make sure our efforts have the highest impact on eliminating preventable deaths. I believe there’s no better mission than that – because focused on safety, we can help everyone live their full life and realize their dreams.

Lorraine M. Martin

Lorraine M. Martin is president and CEO of the National Safety Council.

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