Manager Profile: Joshua Jacobs

Boots on the Ground

A Regional H&S Manager’s day is never done. “You have your typical safety tasks, of course—things like risk assessment, compliance monitoring, training and education, incident investigations, safety audits and helping with emergency readiness, to name a few,” said Regional H&S Manager Joshua Jacobs. “However, there is so much more than just that. You must also manage relationships and personalities across several locations and communicate with your sites to ensure their safety needs are being met.”

Jacobs said he first “dipped his toes” into management when he was 16 and working at a small deli store in his neighborhood. “I obviously had to work my way up to that position, but I was incredibly proud of myself,” he said. Today, “I just celebrated two years with MPW.”

Jacobs said a typical day “in his boots” is anything but typical. “When I arrive on site, we normally do a safety topic or ‘toolbox’ talk to start the day off. From there I help to assist operations to get everything the crews need for a safe and successful workday,” he said. “Then it’s time to check my compliance records for my sites and reach out to operations to make sure their needs are being met.”

At this point the “boots” hit the ground. “I get the boots in the dirt and visit the jobs being done by our crews to complete safety audits and ensure compliance,” Jacobs said. “Once I am done with that, it’s checking equipment, answering emails and setting up trainings.” But “hands down,” Jacobs’ favorite part of the job is working in the field.

“It’s making sure that the men and women of MPW are being safe and have a safe environment to work in,” Jacobs said. “It’s building on those relationships to always keep a temperature check on our safety culture.” He said ensuring each other’s safety is everyone’s responsibility, not only the Regional H&S Manager’s.

“Supporting each other is essential, extending beyond tasks. It safeguards well-being, boosts morale and ensures customer satisfaction,” Jacobs said. “Collaboration enhances safety and strengthens teams. Remember that the person working next to you is someone’s brother, daughter, mother or father, and that they have people who care for them, too.”

Although he’s not a recruiter, Jacobs assists with the hiring process at his main location, the Cleveland Cliffs plant in Cleveland, Ohio. “Helping with collecting drug screenings, ID’s and the Red Carpets are ways I can help the process move along a little more smoothly,” he said. Jacobs has plenty of advice for new hires wanting to enter the health and safety field.

“Never stop learning! We work with some incredibly talented and experienced individuals who will gladly share their knowledge with you. Ask questions, reach out and remain teachable,” Jacobs said. And, most importantly, he advises new hires to own up to their mistakes, because everyone is bound to make a few. “Just be honest. You may have some people upset with you, but you will at least have their respect.”

Jacobs said his manager, Kevin Smith, makes sure all his employees have a reasonable work/life balance. “He stresses all the time that we need time for personal care,” Jacobs said, adding that in his free time, Jacobs loves to travel, read, hike, watch football, go to baseball games and museums, play with his two dogs—named Handsome and Purdy—and spend time with family.

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