Employee Spotlight: Brittany Knue, Safety Specialist, Kentucky Region

Brittany Knue began at TP four years ago as an administrative assistant and was quickly promoted to assistant project manager.  Last year, she was again promoted to her current position as TP Mechanical’s Kentucky Region Safety Specialist. For Brittany, safety is more than just a job – it’s a calling. “It takes everyone at TP Mechanical working together as a team to reach the safety goals and to achieve our level of safety culture,” said Knue.

As Safety Specialist, Knue plays a central role in continuing TP’s longstanding mission to make safety the top priority on every project. As proof of TP’s commitment to injury-free projects, Knue lauds the company’s longstanding safety protocols, which go well beyond minimum OSHA standards and are some of the most stringent in the industry. She also points to the company’s EMR rating* of 0.65 – 35 percent lower than the industry average of 1.0. As a company, TP Mechanical has worked more than 5 million hours without a lost-time accident.

In her current position, Knue is following in the footsteps of her father, who was also a corporate safety director in general industries. As Safety Specialist for the Kentucky Region, Knue oversees safety on all of TP’s Kentucky projects as well as some in Cincinnati. Her main priority: ensuring all TP employees go to work in a safe environment every day. “It’s a challenging job, but there is a large amount of satisfaction making sure the guys go home safe to their families each day,” she said. “There’s no greater feeling than to know you are a part of a safe return home!”

*Modification Rate, or EMR, is used by insurance agencies to measure a company’s past cost of injuries and risk of future on-the-job injuries.

A Culture of Safety

At TP Mechanical, safety is paramount and a fundamental part of our company culture. Since 2000, we have received 92 safety awards and have a current EMR rating of .79 which is well below the national average. When it comes to safety and OSHA ratings, we are in the top one percent of any comparable contractor in the U.S.

Our safety culture starts with our CEO Bill Riddle and spans amongst every single employee. “Everyone goes through orientation and goes through a preview of what safety means,” said Jamie Absher, Safety Manager for TP Mechanical. The importance of safety isn’t just something the top executives hand down—the culture of safety is contagious, and employees know the CEO has their back when it comes to working in a safe environment. If something isn’t working, safety-wise, the entire team brainstorms ways to improve the process.

The company recently launched a “Why Safety Matters to Me” program and asked employees to contribute. Overwhelmingly, the answer to that question came back to getting home safely to family. A five-member team, including Jamie, Rick Absher, Corporate Safety Director for TP Mechanical, and three safety specialists (Ben Smith in Columbus, Brittany Knue in Kentucky and Bob Campbell in Dayton) helps keep TP Mechanical on track for high safety ratings and most importantly, helps team members return home safely each night to their families.

Another way TP Mechanical ensures company-wide safety is by going above and beyond OSHA requirements. “We’re always looking for the constant improvement and wanting to be proactive,” said Jamie.  The team asks questions, such as, “What can we do to ensure our people aren’t getting hurt?” and “What can we do as a team?”

TP Mechanical provides field training with any new policy or product so every member of our team understands its importance and impact on safety. It helps foster a company culture where everyone has a voice and ideas are heard and respected. “Employees may find a better tool or improve a work process,” said Jamie.  “We look at the employees and their specialty to make it safer in their expertise. Our goal, DAILY, no matter what, is for everyone to go home whole. You can’t put a dollar or schedule above that.”