Faith Allem – A Professional’s Journey through Manufacturing and Safety Training

Creating a Culture of Success – Committing to Quality and Safety Education

Faith Allem, quality and safety compliance leader at Hitachi T&D Solutions, Inc. in Suwanee, Georgia, has been taking training classes at Georgia Tech for 20 years. She started her journey in quality and ISO auditing, working at Georgia Power in quality management. She then went to Hitachi where she expanded into safety and health management as her 14-year career evolved.

“Georgia Tech has been my go-to in professional education. The courses have helped me gain the knowledge to advance the quality and safety programs for the companies I have worked for and proven that when safety is invested in and not treated as an afterthought, it directly and positively affects business performance.”

Faith has been successful driving improvement through her commitment to quality and safety. She credits her training and enthusiastic instructors, like Craig Cochran, project manager for the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GAMEP) (who she has known for 20 years), with keeping the classes engaging and relevant.

According to Faith, “You can learn regulations and requirements anywhere, but at Georgia Tech the classes are really interactive. Not only are you learning the requirements, but you are also working on how to apply them to real life business situations. This class structure builds confidence and relationships because you can ask the expert instructors for advice right in the moment.”

In this interview, Faith reflects on her training experience and how it has helped shape her career.

Investing in Career Growth with Georgia Tech Training

After taking 10 quality and ISO focused courses at Georgia Tech, what did you expect to gain by enrolling in the safety & health certificate program and did it meet your expectations?

I knew that Georgia Tech offered a Manufacturing Leadership Certificate program, but I wanted to build on my quality training, and taking safety classes was a natural fit. Earning my Safety and Health Management Certificate allowed me to expand my compliance knowledge, apply what I learned to improve current processes, and show upper management that there is value in building more robust safety programs and investing in training like this.

What did you find most valuable about your quality and safety training journey?

The instructors have an enthusiasm that keeps you engaged and excited about the subject matter that’s being taught. They are supportive and continue to be my go-to resource even outside of the classroom. I was very impressed that during COVID the Georgia Tech team did not stop. They were creative and inventive when pivoting to remote offerings and utilizing web based learning platforms to keep the classes interactive and interesting. This allowed me to keep going and finish my certificate on time.

How have you applied what you have learned in your current position?

The first thing I did was institute proactive planning with my teams. I used the tools from my different classes to create safety kits, incident/accident forms, and a dedicated company website to reinforce good safety behavior among employees. To get everyone on board and invested in the outcome of our new program, I created incentive programs with different types of rewards to reinforce practicing good safety behavior. As a result, we have improved the quality and safety of our current systems and it has changed the company culture. Over the past six years, we have seen a dramatic reduction in customer complaints, safety related accidents, and loss cost. Just one year under my leadership, our safety risk assessment investigation findings are down over 80 percent. I think this shows that a continued commitment to self-development leads to positive outcomes personally and professionally. This program has not only contributed to my own self-growth, but to my team and company as well. It all comes full circle.

In your opinion, what does it take to be successful in the manufacturing and safety field?

Management support is critical. The more I learn, the more knowledge I can bring back, share with the team, and help them to develop and improve on our current systems. This shows value to our upper management and creates an inclusive environment where continuous improvement and safety is everyone’s responsibility. We really care about every person’s safety. It’s not just checking off the requirement box and moving on. It’s about taking that requirement and making it work for your company.

Georgia Tech’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) and Safety, Health, and Environmental teams have been instrumental in helping Faith on her training journey to sustain a highly effective culture of continuous improvement with outstanding safety results. Looking forward she is excited to embark on behavioral safety training, and continuing to refresh her quality skills.

If you have any safety needs or questions, please reach out to one of our experts for a consultation. Sign up for our Safety Connect newsletter to receive the latest updates and tips on how to keep your company safe.

To learn more about the GaMEP program, please contact your Region Manager for more information.

Hear Me Out: Creating and Maintaining a Safe Place to Work

Two men wearing PPE in a manufacturing plant.

Every year approximately 30 million workers experience hazardous noise exposure on the job. Over 9 million are at risk for severe hearing loss from occupational exposure to noise, which remains a persistent cause of employee illness in the workplace, and can even put you at risk for heart disease.

Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupational diseases and is the second most self-reported occupational illness or injury.*

Many manufacturing processes, machinery, and equipment produce high noise levels, which can lead to hearing problems. For reference, a normal conversation is typically about 60 dB, cars and trucks range around 70 to 90 dB, and sirens and airplanes can reach 120 dB or more. Anything over 70-80 dB is considered unhealthy.

Estimates suggest that roughly a third of people in Europe and the US are regularly exposed to unhealthy levels of noise, and numerous studies link chronic exposure to environmental noise like traffic and airplanes to a greater risk of high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and increased stress.+

Providing proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and worksite health and wellness programs that target noise-exposed workers are several ways you can help employees feel safer. However, manufacturers also need to make sure their company complies with the OSHA regulation for noise hazards to maintain a safe working environment and avoid paying heavy penalties for serious violations.

Here are three ways that we can help identify and manage potential hazards within your facility:

  1. Get Educated – Register for our Introduction to Noise Evaluation and Control Course offered several times a year in-person or online as a self-guided class with live office hours.
  2. Be Proactive – Schedule a Free Safety Consultation with our experts. We will conduct noise monitoring at your facility to determine what actions are needed to protect your employees and keep you in compliance with the OSHA regulation.
  3. Think Long Term – Whether you are creating a safety plan, scaling up production or reassessing the plant floor layout, utilizing the 5s and 6s principles of Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain (and Safety), you can strategically turn work areas into clean, organized, and safe spaces.

For more information on Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership, please visit gamep.org. To learn more about our safety training and services for manufacturers visit oshainfo.gatech.edu and sign up for our Safety Connect Newlsetter.

*Us, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA Regional Instruction, Regional Emphasis Program (REP) for Noise Hazards, 2019

+Hansen, C., 2021, Why noise pollution is bad for your heart, https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210315-why-noise-pollution-is-bad-for-your-heart