Safety Experts Podcast

Because safety is more than just a policy, practice, or personal protective equipment, the MEMIC Safety Experts Podcast hosted by Peter Koch will interview industry leaders every two weeks on the trends, tools, and techniques that are tried, tested, or emerging in the world of workplace safety. What you learn could save your life or the life of a friend or coworker, or at least save everyone from a few unnecessary cuts, burns and bruises. Thank you for your joining us in our mission to make work, and the world, a safer place.

Episodes are available right here, on Apple Podcasts, Google PodcastsSpotify, Stitcher and your smart speaker. Have a question, comment or idea for the show? We would love to hear from you, contact us at

Jump to episode:

20. Healthcare Safety w/ Lauren Caulfield
19. Fit for Work w/ Dr. Delia Roberts
18. Social Distancing w/ Kevin Roche
17. Hand Safety w/ Joey Geng
16. Crisis Communication w/ Michael Bourque
15. Are You Prepared? Violence in the American Workplace w/ Rob Sylvester
14. Infection Control and Prevention w/ Debra Willard Webb
13. Machine Guarding w/ Hartley Webb
12. A Fraction on Friction: Outdoor Slip and Fall Prevention w/ Pete Koch
11. Office Ergonomics w/ Maureen Anderson
10. Engaging Safety w/ Lorraine Serva
9. Up your NEAT w/ Allan Brown
8. Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention w/ Maureen Anderson
7. Winter Driving Safety w/ Randy Klatt
6. Holiday Safety Fails and Fixes: Preventing Electrical Fires w/ Hartley Webb
5. Putting People at the Center of Work - Industrial Ergonomics w/ Allan Brown
4. Living with Dementia: A Caregiver’s Guide w/ Dr. Heather McKay
3. Seasonal Workforce Challenges and Solutions w/ Deb Roy
2. Maine Miracle: How MEMIC Changed Workplace Culture w/ Michael Bourque
1. Safety Leadership: Walking the Walk w/ Randy Klatt



Healthcare Safety w/ Lauren Caulfield

It is serious work, physically demanding, and can put nurses, caregivers, and their patients at risk of serious injury. Assisting and moving patients happens hundreds if not thousands of times a day in each care facility or home depending on its size and capacity. No matter if you are recovering from day surgery or in hospice, This close quarters caregiving is essential to the recovery path for any patient. And it’s these movements that are putting caregivers and their patients at risk. In this episode I speak with Lauren Caulfield, Director of the Atlantic Region Loss Control here at MEMIC about the Patient Handling Problem, it’s effect on providers and patients and how the MEMIC Safe Patient Handling Program is helping care facilities reduce the number of provider and patient injuries as well as increase the quality of care delivered.


Fit for Work w/ Dr. Delia Roberts

Now more than ever, worker health is a key part to any successful business. Beyond the obvious connection to lost work time, healthy workers tend to be happier, produce more, and can be safer on the job. When a worker is out sick, it leaves the workforce short. In order to address the problem, you must look at it from both ends. What happens when an employee gets ill and how employers help employees to stay healthy and not get sick in the first place. On this episode, Dr. Delia Roberts, President of Fit Safe Solutions, digs into the impact of an employer health and wellness program and unpack its 4 key tenants. Relevant, Committed, Effective, and On-Going.




Social Distancing w/ Kevin Roche 

Many of us haven’t heard of the term until the current novel coronavirus pandemic. However, this isn’t a new tool at all.  Studies back in the early 2000’s and late 1900’s discuss physical distancing as one of the main community mitigation measures recommended during influenza pandemics. On this Episode of the MEMIC Safety Experts Podcast, Pete talks with Kevin Roche, CEO of EcoMaine a non-profit waste management organization serving a third of Maine’s population. Together, they explore the decision EcoMaine made to begin physical distancing early on in the novel coronavirus pandemic, what impacts it has had on their team and business plan, and leadership that made a difference.




Hand Safety w/ Joey Geng

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports in 2018 the goods and service producing industries had a hand injury incidence rate of 30.8 per ten thousand full time workers. And these are only the injuries that got reported. Think of all the times when you hit finger, got a paper cut, a splinter, or another small injury to you hand. That time, it might have hurt for a moment, but there is always the chance it could have been worse. The human hand is one of the most delicate and dexterous instruments we have to interact with the world. With them we can feel the heartbeat of another person, create art and music, pick a flower, or grasp a tool, adjust a machine, and pick up stock. Without them or without full use of them, we lose a big part of our sense of touch and how we interact with everyday things. According to the stats, it’s at the workplace where our hands are most at risk. If they are such an important part of our lives, why don’t we treat them with more care. In this episode, Pete explores what makes safety work using someone’s hands as the focus with Joe Geng, Vice President of Superior Glove and author of the book, “Rethinking Hand Safety: Myths, Truths, and Proven Practices”.  It’s not a book that you would expect, it really is about how to rethink safety from the perspective of your hands, the pitfalls you will see on the way, and examples of how to move forward.




Crisis Communication w/ Michael Bourque

Crisis can bring about interesting times, and it’s in times of crisis when, as employers and leaders, you need to step back, be sure you are focused on the right priorities, and then lean in to support your team. Now more than ever, workers need to know that their leadership is committed to their health and safety.  Intentional regular communication is a critical part of balancing the immediate response to any crisis with workplace safety, and worker well-beingPlanning for crisis communication, meeting people where they are, and the delivery are all critical parts of the communications puzzle. n this episode I speak with Michael Bourque, President and CEO of MEMIC. Drawing from more than 30 years experience developing and delivering messages with employees, peers, and external contacts, Michael discusses concentric circles of communication planning and lessons learned from supporting workplace teams through challenging times.



Are You Prepared? Violence in the American Workplace w/ Rob Sylvester 

The OSHA General Duty clause states that every employer has the duty to provide work and a workplace that's free of recognized hazards. Workplace violence is not a traditional hazard like a piece of machinery, repetitive motion, heavy lifting, falls, or confined spaces. It’s a threat from co-workers or as OSHA defines it, clients, customers and even visitors to the workplace. Do the statistics make workplace violence a new recognized hazard? The National Safety Council reports that in 2016, 17 percent of workplace deaths were a result of violence. And according to OSHA, about 2 million people each year report some type of workplace violence. The more you look at it, the more you see that this could happen anywhere people are at work, even your own workplace. So, as a business owner, are you prepared? Or as a worker, do you know what your employer's plan is? And as a supervisor or a leader within the workplace, do you know what action to take when it happens? In this episode, “Are you prepared? Violence in the American workplace”, Rob Sylvester and Pete Koch take on what workplace violence is, some of the causes, some strategies for prevention, and how to be prepared if it happens.



Infection Control and Prevention w/ Debra Willard Webb

 Infection control and prevention are always in the news during flu season, but this year we have a new player that is causing more than a stir in the world today, the novel or newest corona virus, Covid-19. There are plenty of statistics and interpretations out in the public domain that don’t seem to jive, causing conflicting opinions, incomplete understandings, and misguided actions.  It can be difficult to know who to believe and what recommendations to follow. On this episode of the MEMIC Safety Experts Podcast, Debbie Willard-Web, Safety Management Consultant with MEMIC and I will lay out what the current understanding of Covid-19 is, what parallels it has with influenza, standard practices for basic hygiene and exposure control, as well as recommendations for refreshing your company’s emergency plan.



Machine Guarding w/ Hartley Webb

Machine Guarding ranks number 9 out of OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards, with 1,743 violations in 2019. According to OSHA’s Machine guarding eTool, there are over 18,000 injuries and 800 deaths each year attributed to worker exposure to unguarded or inadequately guarded machines. Does your workplace have presses, shears, gears, rollers, conveyors, or shafts?  How about mixers, jointers, portable power tools, or power saws?  What do they have in common?  Their moving parts can cause a multitude of serious or life changing injuries like amputations, crushed limbs or digits, and blindness.  And all may fall under the machine guarding standard. In this episode, Peter speaks with Hartley Webb, MEMIC’s expert on machine guarding, about what machine guarding is, hazards of unguarded machines, and common strategies to control worker exposure.  Listen in as they discuss different types of guards from fixed to interlocking and self-adjusting, as well as devices like light curtains and two hand controls/trips that protect the worker from moving parts.




A Fraction on Friction: Outdoor Slip and Fall Prevention w/ Peter Koch

On the surface, preventing Slip and Fall events outdoors may seem like a pretty simple topic to address, but unlike preventing slips and falls inside, the outdoor environment adds a level of complexity to the problem. The weather is something that, no matter how we try, we can’t control. Inside a building or at a workstation you know the surfaces and lighting, control the footwear, and anticipate potential contaminates. Outside, the weather is a variable which, while we can predict what it will do, we don’t always understand the magnitude or anticipate the changing conditions or how the forecast conditions will impact the surfaces we have to work on. And when we let our guard down or lose situational awareness, the consequences can be painful. So, what is the best strategy for helping workers stay on their feet in an outdoor environment? There is no magic bullet, or a one size fits all answer. But looking at the problem systematically can help. In this episode Peter discusses 5 Focus areas that can help provide a road map to more effectively preventing slip and falls out of doors.



Office Ergnomics w/ Maureen Anderson

Office ergonomics is not just about your mouse or your keyboard or your chair.  It’s an integrated look at all the factors; human, environmental, and equipment, which affect how we work at a desk.  For the episode, Ergonomics in the Office, Peter speaks with Maureen Anderson, Certified Professional Ergonomist and Safety Management Consultant with MEMIC.  They talk posture, habits, gravity, focal distance, even lighting.  Maureen brings a wealth of experience to the table, as she discusses the long- and short-term effects of a poorly designed or set up workstation.  Have a great workstation, but still experience aches and pains after a long day in front of the keyboard?  They get into how a well-designed workstation isn’t the lone solution for reducing musculoskeletal injuries in the office.  What to know more about Office Ergonomics?  Check it out at the MEMIC Safety Experts Podcast.



Engaging Safety w/ Lorraine Serva

Employee engagement is not happiness or even job satisfaction. It is the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals. It means they care about the work.  And when someone cares about the work they do and the company they work for, a safety culture can prosper.  For the episode, Engaging Safety, Peter speaks with Lorraine Serva, the leader of the Human Resource Team at Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurants about the different techniques and tools they use to help keep employees engaged in safety across their 16 locations.  They talk mascots, Learning Management Systems, Micro Learning, contests, and committees as they explore how Iron Hill engages employees in safety.  No matter how big or small the company, Lorraine shows us how leveraging branding, technology, data collection, and commitment can help create and sustain a culture of safety.  Want to get engaged?  Check it out at the MEMIC Safety Experts Podcast.




Up Your NEAT w/ Allan Brown

Do you sit all, or most of the day?  Are you more tired, and sore after getting out of your office chair than you are after a workout?  MEMIC’s Director of Ergonomics, Allan Brown, introduces listeners to the concept of how non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) can increase your overall health and improve safety on the job.  Brown asks, “When you get to that elevator, do you really have to push that button, or can you walk up?”  In this episode, host Pete Koch and Allan Brown explore how basic activities like walking, standing, stretching and even chewing gum can improve workplace ergonomics and employee well-being.



Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention w/ Maureen Anderson

Take your center of mass and put it outside your base of support and what do you get??  Well, you could get better acquainted with the ground at best, and at worst you could have a life altering fall.  Preventing slip and fall events is more than just signage, giving people slip resistant footwear, or mopping up a spill.  There has to be a strategy that deals with all aspects of the slip and fall cause – the surface, the awareness of the worker, their footwear and its compatibility with the surface, and finally the environment the surface and employee are in.  A great solution for one space might be a total failure in another.   On this episode of the MEMIC Safety Experts podcast, Peter talks with Maureen Anderson, Safety Management Consultant with MEMIC about slip and fall prevention.  They exchange personal experiences investigating slip and fall events, discuss the cost of slips and falls, and share different approaches to slip and fall prevention such as SAFE and the hierarchy of controls.  Explore possible solutions to the slip and fall problem.



Winter Driving Safety w/ Randy Klatt

Every time winter comes around, the number of traffic accidents increases. MEMIC Loss Control Director Randy Klatt shares how you can drive to save lives, time and money, despite the conditions around you and the actions of others. Since his experiences in emergency medicine and as an active duty Navy pilot and aircraft crash investigator, Klatt has been on a mission to prevent the tragic consequences of unsafe attitudes and behavior. “As a 20-year-old paramedic responding to calls for help, I quickly realized that human failure is behind the majority of injuries,” says Klatt. “As a safety professional I know there are no accidents, only predictable outcomes. No one wants to be hurt, but many do not understand how preventable injuries really are.


Holiday Safety Fails and Fixes: Preventing Electrical Fires w/ Hartley Webb

Every holiday season, EMS teams respond to hundreds of house fires, electrical burns, falls from height, and decorating or party related problems. Holiday decoration and Christmas tree fires are more damaging than other fires, resulting in twice the injuries and five times the fatalities per fire as the average winter holiday home fire. Follow MEMIC Safety Management Consultant Hartley Webb’s advice on the proper use of electrical cords and appliances so you aren’t putting your friends and family in danger. Plus, listen to the end of the episode for gift ideas to keep your loved ones safe.



Putting People at the Center of Work - Industrial Ergonomics w/ Allan Brown

Does your back hurt? Is work literally a pain in your neck? Find out from MEMIC’s Director of Ergonomics Allan Brown if workplace ergonomics could be the culprit to some of your most common aches and pains. Good ergonomics is fitting the work to the worker, not the other way around. If you sit down at a workstation or desk or sit in a new vehicle and you don’t adjust anything, then you have to adapt yourself to the machine or tool. If you don’t make adjustments, then you may be exposing yourself to unsafe situations and blind spots.



Living with Dementia: A Caregiver’s Guide w/ Dr. Heather McKay

The Alzheimer's Association estimates that 16 million Americans provide unpaid care to people with dementia-related diseases. Special guest Dr. Heather McKay helps us recognize the common symptoms and behaviors that are caused by dementia, understand how the progression of dementia affects the someone's skills and abilities, and learn how to take specific actions to improve safety for both caregivers and those living with dementia. Heather has been named the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s “Dementia Care Professional of the Year” and collaborated with the National Association of State Veterans Homes, Armed Forces Veterans’ Homes Foundation, AMVETS Service Foundation the Air Force Sergeants’ Association to produce the award-winning caregiver training video series Dementia Care for America’s Heroes.



Seasonal Workforce Challenges and Solutions w/ Deb Roy

Ever wonder how the best companies gear up for their busy season? Concerned about how to keep your staff safe when production demands rise? Can your hiring practices keep pace with the demand for employees? Deb Roy, President of SafeTech Consultants and recently retired Corporate Director of Health, Safety & Wellness at L.L.Bean, offers solutions to seasonal workforce challenges so the increased demands don’t upset the balance of safety, quality and productivity.



Maine Miracle: How MEMIC Changed Workplace Culture w/ Michael Bourque

You might be thinking about how you can improve the safety culture at your workplace, but from the start MEMIC had to change the workplace culture of an entire state. MEMIC President and CEO Michael Bourque says that MEMIC was born out of crisis. In the late 80s and early 90s Maine had a terrible safety culture and increasing levels of legal conflict making it the most expensive place in the country to do business. The economy suffered and insurance companies were fleeing the state. Finally, workers’ compensation reforms were made in 1992 and Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Company (MEMIC) was created. Now with 8 offices across the Eastern Seaboard, MEMIC shares its workers’ compensation and safety expertise with policyholders across the country. Find out what MEMIC’s experience can teach your organization about safety and initiating a culture change.



Safety Leadership: Walking the Walk w/ Randy Klatt

What does it take to be a leader and motivate a group of people to accomplish a common goal? How do you build credibility and develop trust with your team? Are you able to communicate with humility so it’s not about you but about the overall mission? MEMIC Loss Control Director Randy Klatt shares leadership tips from more than 40 years’ experience working in industries where safety is critical to success—in emergency medicine, as an active duty Navy pilot, a commercial airline pilot and an aviation safety instructor at the university level.




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