After more than 25 years in the safety industry, Jon Biggs still finds too many people getting hung up on compliance.
“Compliance is what I like to call ‘paper-safe,’ ” says Biggs, who joined Tipmont in May as manager of safety and compliance. “Compliance is important, of course, but it’s really the lowest bar, the bare minimum. Compliance is easy to do.”
Biggs would rather emphasize the effort necessary to cultivate a lasting, meaningful culture of safety.
“For that, you need a holistic approach, and if we’re doing it right, it really takes some effort,” Biggs says.
Biggs’ inspiration to make safety an intrinsic, proactive and inspiring concept began as a full-time student and employee at Purdue University — working in a skilled trade in the university’s electric shop.
“I really saw a lot of opportunities to enhance the safety of the work being performed and to pursue training,” Biggs says.
He was invited to serve on Purdue’s newly formed electrical safety committee, completed training for the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) and later led training himself, and served as an instructor of courses in advanced industrial and occupational safety at Purdue and Ivy Tech Community College.
Biggs comes to Tipmont after most recently serving as the senior safety specialist for Purdue’s energy and utilities department, and is excited for the opportunity to further optimize Tipmont’s focus on safety.
“A lot of focus in the utility industry is on the field and with linemen,” Biggs says. “I think there are ways to engage everyone, from member service to engineering staff and beyond. The more eyes and ears you can engage with subject-matter expertise, the faster you can identify and resolve issues.
“Tipmont is in an exciting place because leadership has a vision of where they’d like to go with safety. I think we can make some quick, dramatic improvements moving forward — for both Tipmont employees and members. There’s excellent opportunity to educate people on simple, everyday things they can do to prioritize safety relative to their utility service.”
Biggs also looks forward to hands-on interactions with people across Tipmont departments to fully understand the systems in place and “really see how we can make things better from the ground up.”
“My goal is that people are committed to what’s required to ensure each and every one of us goes home as healthy and happy — if not more so — than when we arrived in the morning,” Biggs says.