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Expert Interview Series: Paul W. Gantt on Safety Compliance Management

Safety compliance management

When it comes to home inspection and safety, old and outdated theories are out as research looks at practicing safety differently. Read on to discover what Paul W. Gantt, the president and founder of of SCM (Safety Compliance Management, Inc.), has to say about industrial toxins and their effects on health and the environment, as well as what has led to the success of Safety Compliance Management.

Can you tell us a bit about your professional history, and how you came to be involved with Safety Compliance Management?

After working in the fire service for over 15 years, I founded the firm that I now lead. While in the fire service, I worked in a number of positions including Firefighter/Paramedic, Fire Captain, Fire Marshal, and Chief.

A large part of the reason for founding the firm is that I realize that it is often better and easier to prevent problems than to deal with the consequences. Some things cannot be put back together. For example, you cannot unburn something. While working in my second career, I get the opportunity to impact a large number of lives through direct intervention with our firm and its talented staff, through writing books and articles, and through speaking at national conferences.

Who should be visiting the Safety Compliance Management website, and what should they expect to find there?

Our website is primarily for those who are working in occupations that expose them to a range of hazards. These hazards can include chemical, physical, or even psychological hazards.

We offer a full range of safety services and advice on many topics, including those related to home safety. We provide regular (free) newsletters and safety tips on a number of topics, and those can be accessed on our site.

What do you think are the things most people don’t know about industrial toxins and their effects on health and the environment?

In my experience, most people are far too concerned about industrial toxins and less concerned about things that are far more likely to harm them. Most people do not know that there are more naturally-occurring pesticides and carcinogens (cancer causing materials) than there are man-made ones. And most don’t know that items like certain wood dusts are on an equal level of concern as asbestos, vinyl chloride, or benzene.

What advice would you have to aspiring home inspectors when it comes to identifying potential health hazards and toxins?

Get your science from the scientists and not the media or those with special interests. Don’t stop learning. I just completed a Masters Degree in Advanced Safety Engineering with my youngest son. Now both of us are in PhD programs.

Many people listen to the first thing that they hear and think they know it all. If you don’t learn, you don’t benefit from experience. Do you have 20 years of experience, or one year of experience repeated 20 times? Without adding to your knowledge base, it is the latter.

How do you think that safety compliance concerns for businesses will change in the near and distant future?

Unfortunately, most businesses rely on the regulatory framework to define how safe they are going to become. But you can be fully compliant with all of the rules and be very dead. Numerous examples are available to support this.

However, there is a new movement in safety that is going beyond compliance and focusing on managing risk in ways that new research is showing to be effective. Right now, our safety rules and safety practices are focused on outdated theories from the early 1900’s. Current research is changing how we look at those old and outdated theories so that we can look at practicing safety differently.

Please share with us anything that you think has contributed to the success of Safety Compliance Management. What are some of the things that you have learned along the way?

Perhaps the best advice I can relate would be to reiterate the need to never stop learning.

We live in a world where things that were presumed to be true are being disproved and replaced by new ideas. We should challenge the assumptions of the past and remember that things that never happened before happen all the time.

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