Employee Spotlight: Devin Poulson, Senior Safety Specialist
By: Corporate Communications
June 30, 2021
June is National Safety Month and this year we’re highlighting how safety isn’t just physical, it’s also emotional. This is a reality Devin Poulson, senior safety specialist at our Woodward Complex, recognizes in his role. In this spotlight, Devin discusses how prioritizing both physical and emotional safety breeds success for the plant, as well as CF Industries as a whole.
Putting safety first is part of our core values at CF Industries. What can you tell us about the role of safety in the work you do?
Our goal at Woodward is to place ourselves in the most proactive position for safety possible, and that usually involves project planning and execution. The former way of thinking was that safety in a manufacturing facility is very reactive and that you’re always putting out fires. Our goal at this site is to be proactive and involved in identifying any roadblocks or issues early that may influence less than safe behavior. It’s looking ahead at the coming week, year or five years and determining what success looks like.
You recently passed the Certified Safety Professional exam, which is a significant achievement. How has that experience made you a better team member?
I think an eye opener for me was the amount of leadership principles involved in the certification. It opened my eyes to my role from a broader spectrum of budget, employees, leadership styles and influencers in the workplace. What was most beneficial for me was viewing safety from a teamwork standpoint and how to lead people and present new ideas, while also building new programs from the ground up.
For National Safety Month, we’ve had internal discussions about, not just physically safety, but emotional safety as well. This means creating an inclusive environment where people can freely discuss concerns, issues or improvements. What are some ways you help your team feel emotionally safe at work?
One of the biggest things we’ve done is create multiple teams and committees at the site-level composed of people from all departments and walks of life to make sure that we have a fresh viewpoint on everyday issues and scenarios. That’s been huge for us. We’re already seeing the benefit of our employees having a vested interest in the physical and emotional wellbeing of their peers. I think it’s a time-proven fact that inclusion breeds innovation, whether it’s innovation in technology, practice or procedure. We’re seeing that when people’s opinions and beliefs are valued, the level of support and buy-in is exponentially higher. Another thing we’re seeing is that psychological safety translates to physical safety. When people feel taken care of and they’re pleased with their situation, it improves physical safety. People are feeling more empowered to bring ideas to these committees because they see the benefit and that things are getting taken care of.
In your words, what does it mean to “Do it Right?”
“Do it Right” means we all feel a personal responsibility to look out for those next to us and to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help them succeed. The “Do it Right” culture and the accountability that comes with it drives success for the site and the company.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part about my job is definitely the problem solving — the identification of roadblocks in programs and in projects and working through them with diverse teams. That’s been very rewarding over the past few years. The committees and diverse groups we bring together come from different industries and walks of life, so they all bring different viewpoints which translates into efficiency and a successful project or job.
What inspires you to do your best work?
For me, I’m really inspired by watching our site and our company succeed. That inspires me to bring my A game to the table to make sure, whether it’s my project or someone else’s project, that it’s successful and reflects highly on the Woodward Complex. This line of work demands it, and I really do feel a personal responsibility to each of our employees to make sure they go home safely.