My Story

My Story: Tamera Galbreath


My story began as a cost analyst at a steel mill in northwest Indiana. My bachelor’s degree is in accounting, and I was sent out to operations on a special assignment. When the assignment ended, I asked the person I was reporting to if there was anything he could move me into, as I enjoyed the environment and working for him. He said, “Yes, as a matter of fact, there’s a new safety program rolling out and I need someone to manage it.”

My Story: Tamera Galbreath

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But my uncle, who had been with the company for over 35 years, had shared all kinds of safety stories with me. It had a huge impact on me. I didn’t understand how people would come to work and get seriously hurt or die. I later attended a workers’ memorial service on World Day for Safety and Health at Work. When I heard the impact on families who lost loved ones on the job, it really inspired me to dig deeper.

I quickly began working with several safety professionals and learned so much from them. There was one particular safety pro who took me under her wing and really taught me a lot. I began devouring books, webinars, courses and anything else from which I could learn. I asked a lot of questions and shadowed employees to understand their jobs. I worked closely with the union training program to understand their needs and learn from their expertise. I became involved in the implementation of the ISO 18001, and that’s where the learning really exploded.

I worked hard on identifying hazards and looking for corrective actions to those hazards. We began understanding the level of hazards we had and what we could do to eliminate them when possible.

I haven’t looked back since being in safety. Safety became a part of my life and includes volunteer work in my community related to safety.

I bring those early learning experiences in the field with me to my current position of safety supervisor in a manufacturing company. For me, the key to safety is to be passionate and diligent. Continue to communicate, listen, observe and be involved. When someone brings a safety concern to me, I address it immediately and follow up with the person who brought the concern to me. I can’t think of another field that’s more rewarding. Keeping people safe so they can go home to their families each and every day is the best!

My motto is, “If you see something, say something.” If I don’t know there’s an issue, I can’t do anything about it. But as soon as I know there’s an issue, we can begin looking for those corrective actions. I also firmly believe in “safety shares” at all meetings. It’s a great way to begin a meeting, “share something that you witnessed that was safe or unsafe.” It can be something that you witnessed on the job or outside of work.

Always keep safety at the forefront of your mind!

Tamera GalbreathTamera Galbreath
Safety and Ergonomics Supervisor
Federal Signal
University Park, IL

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