Safety Leader

Allen Sloan: Director of Safety, Los Angeles County NECA/IBEW Local 11/LMCC

Allen Sloan
Allen Sloan
Published On
Nov 15, 2022

For Allen Sloan, director of safety for the Los Angeles County NECA (LA NECA)/IBEW Local 11/Labor Management Cooperative Committee (LMCC) in Pasadena, Calif., advising workers and their contractor employers on safety best practices is equally important to making sure everyone goes home to their families after work. Sloan shares how he accomplishes both tasks.

What sparked your interest in getting into the safety profession? 

I have worked in the electrical contracting industry for 30 years and have been doing safety for the last 25. I was working at a large electrical contracting firm in Los Angeles when they approached me about taking over the role of safety for them. I took some time to do some research and saw that safety was becoming a career that was growing in demand, so I decided to take it on. It turned into the best career move I could have asked for.

I then took the position of director of safety for LA NECA/IBEW Local 11/LMCC and have held this position for 17 years. I have a unique position because I work through our Labor Management Cooperative Committee here in Los Angeles, which means I work for both labor and management. My position is more of an advisory role. I advise the IBEW Local 11 and their members on the best safety practices [and also advise] our LA NECA contractors on safety policies and procedures as well as best safety practices.

Changing the safety culture was my top priority when I took this position, and focusing on educating new incoming apprentices was where I felt I needed to start. I communicated to them what kind of safety culture we are expecting to have, and I believe we have been very successful in making that change. The likelihood of injuries and even deaths among our working members will increase if we don’t have a strong safety culture. 

I also speak with our contractors about the same thing and how they need to have good, strong policies and procedures for workers to follow. After all, safety is a shared responsibility.

What challenges do safety professionals face in managing safety responsibilities for their companies? 

I would say that safety professionals are challenged with claim management. There are several pieces to claim management, from the action you take after the claim to the post-claim expenses, and making sure each piece of that claim is handled properly can be a challenge.

How do you help contractors get their workers to take safety seriously?

I really push a safety-first culture with our contractors. Without a good safety culture, which starts at the top of every organization, they will see increased injuries, which will lead to a negative work environment along with higher operating costs.

What resources do you provide to help contractors?

The safety resources I can provide are guidance on identifying and controlling risks and implementing best practices to reduce worker injuries and improve productivity. I do job-site audits for our contractors to get another set of eyes on the job site. I review and give guidance on their safety policies and procedures, as well as their injury and illness prevention programs.

Accident investigation is something I can assist contractors with as well. I keep them updated with Cal/OSHA regulations that are being implemented. I also organize an annual safety expo for our contractors.

Do you have any other advice for safety professionals?

Be a coach, not a cop. I find that coaching workers about safety goes a long way instead of constant enforcement. Be there as a safety resource for the field workers.

Do you have any advice for young people thinking about a profession in safety?

Pick the right safety profession to work in and work on your education and certifications for that field. Electrical safety is a much different field than, say, retail safety. Certifications are becoming more and more important in the safety profession. They will help you to better communicate with workers about safety and anticipate specific workplace dangers, paving the way for hazard avoidance and prevention.

About the Author

Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert has more than three decades of experience writing about the construction industry, and her articles have been featured in the Associated General Contractor’s Constructor magazine, the American Fence Association’s Fencepost, the...

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