Safety Leader

Hey, Good Lookin’

Published On
Feb 14, 2022

Have you ever searched for your glasses and found them pushed up on top of your head? Me neither. Our first feature is about learning how to look better—not at yourself, but at your surroundings. Chuck Ross introduces us to Doug Pontsler, who uses visual arts education to help safety professionals identify hazards. Pontsler teaches how to break down artwork into color, line, shape, space and texture, and how to transfer that skill to the real world. The more points of view you bring to prevent injuries, the better. “The Art of Safety” is on page 2.

According to Tom O’Connor’s OSHA outlook, things are looking up in 2022. Doug Parker was confirmed as the agency’s head, and we should expect to see a greater emphasis on inspections, work toward an infectious disease standard and a return to more stringent recordkeeping requirements. Catch up on the news on page 6.

To write this letter, I did an internet search for “trench disasters” within the last month. I got a frightening number of hits, including scary videos that I didn’t watch. We know that working in trenches and excavations is one of the most dangerous jobs in construction. On page 12, Jeff Griffin talks to professionals about trench shielding and shoring, including excavation safety tips.

The experts that Susan Bloom interviews for “Diversity’s Strength in the Workplace” explain that safety is connected to age, health, social status and other factors that may not be what people think when they hear “diversity.” If a company has appropriate safety training content, but not the right mechanism for delivering it in a way employees can access and understand, it will fail. This feature is on page 16.

Make plans now to attend the NECA Safety Professionals Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., May 16–18, 2022. The NSPC presents meaningful information on risk management, OSHA regulatory issues and safety trends. In addition to expert speakers, networking opportunities and a trade show, this year we’re focusing on the outside line construction industry. Welcome back to the third volume of Safety Leader. We’re very glad you made it.

About the Author

Wesley L. Wheeler

Director of Safety, NECA

Wes Wheeler, SMS, is NECA’s director of safety and is a technical committee member on both NFPA 70, the National Electrical Code, and a past technical committee member on NFPA 70E. He can be reached at

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