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The road from EHS to ESG – Sue Schneiter


How do you take a company in so much trouble with the government over environmental violations that it was about to be shut down, and make it into an award winner 12 years in a row? We talk with Sue Schneiter, regional Director of EHS for a Fortune 300 multinational, who has over 25 years in the field. Sue advanced her company from a compliance mentality to a Sustainability strategy, developing their ESG program over the course of 10 years. Now they have turned their sights on climate change and how it impacts their 24/7 operations.

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Show Notes

EPISODE TITLE: The road from EHS to ESG – Sue Schneiter


This week we interview Sue Schneiter, Regional Director of Environment, Health & Safety at a Fortune 300 multinational. Manufacturing is highly regulated, both with operational and quality regulations and also with environmental, health, and safety regulations. Sue advanced her company from a compliance mentality to a Sustainability strategy, developing their ESG program over the course of 10 years. Now they have turned their sights on climate change and how it impacts their 24/7 operations.

About our Guest Sue Schneiter: 

Sue was always an environmental advocate and it followed that she would end up working to help protect it, and the people she works with. With a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Indianan University, She has worked in the metal finishing, primary metals, and Consumer Products industry sectors. We talk with her about her two decades of helping companies meet ISO14001, cGMP, and State and local regulatory statutes, and how compliance sets the stage for quality and Sustainability as a cornerstone of compliance.


Sue Schnieter -EHS for Consumer Beauty & Health 

[00:00:00] Mitch: Welcome to another episode of the Factory of the Future®.org podcast. This is Mitch Kennedy, co-Founder of Factory of the future®.org. And with me today in the studio is Susan. And she is an EHS professional in a large multinational corporation. I think the sales are close to a billion dollars a year and a publicly-traded company.

[00:00:21] Mitch: And so she’s going to share with us some of her insights and her background and what goes on in her job. So welcome Sue. 

[00:00:29] Sue: Thank you, Mitch. 

[00:00:30] Mitch: So if you could give us an origin story of how it is you got to where you are. Maybe tell us what your current position is and then how I 

[00:00:38] Sue: got into that.

[00:00:39] Sue: Sure. Probably like most people, when I went to college, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. And when I got there I went to Indiana University and they had just started a new school, the school of public and environmental affairs. And I didn’t even know that existed and I’ve always been interested in nature.

[00:01:00] Sue: All things natural. So, that’s what I got my degree in. And I was fortunate enough to end up working for Indiana University at the department of environmental health and safety. Very different from what I do now. University is totally different from manufacturing and Basically did all the chemistry, all the hazardous materials.

[00:01:24] Sue: So for the chemistry and the biology department anyway, collected them, packed them, trucked them, shipped them. And that’s where my expertise was. And then we moved to Connecticut and I worked for a precious metals manufacturer. And I think it’s a little. Ironic that I got the job with a manufacturer of precious metals because they were under a consent order because they had done bad things in the past.

[00:01:52] Mitch: And who issued that consent order?

[00:01:53] Sue: The department of environmental protection at the state level. Yeah. So I went in and. Got them. And that was dealing with hazardous materials. So I got them all in the clear. They also had a wastewater treatment facility, which I’d never done anything with wastewater treatment.

[00:02:12] Sue: So I learned all about that. And then I took a job where I am now. And once again, there was a consent order and they needed to hire someone. So I went in and got that all cleared up and in fact, There that facility received the green circle award, which is given by the department of environmental protection for companies and individuals that go above and beyond what the law requires.

[00:02:40] Sue: So they received that 12 years in a row. So now we’re in very good standing with it’s now the department of energy and environmental protection. 

[00:02:49] Mitch: So you took a company that was in trouble with the DEP and was being threatened with being closed down. To the place where they’re getting an award based on their environmental performance every year for 12 years in a row, right?

[00:03:03] Mitch: Yes. 

[00:03:03] Sue: Yeah. Yeah. It is. It’s a really good feeling to go in and make things right. And really, I believe companies want to do the right thing. They just don’t, some of them just don’t know what the right thing is. 

[00:03:18] Mitch: Excellent. And so currently you are, I believe you said you were in charge of four facilities on the east coast.

[00:03:24] Mitch: And they all do different things, right? 

[00:03:27] Sue: So yes. Yeah. W one of them is an analyzer and that’s where the environmental part comes in mostly. One of them is an injection. Plastic injection molding and then the other two are assembly plants. Okay. One person makes the parts and the energizing facility colors any metal parts.

[00:03:50] Sue: And then that goes to the assembly plant. 

[00:03:54] Mitch: So it was pretty simple. It’s real simple. And so D in your, in the job that you have to make sure that they’re doing your thing right. Do you need to really know anything about how the parts are made? 

[00:04:07] Sue: Yes. And more, maybe not so much how they’re made, but how that process can affect other things.

[00:04:18] Sue: And really, plastic injection molding the plastic isn’t toxic the handling of the resin that I think the only regulation that comes in there is. OSHA’s dust and we got, we had a, an incredible vacuum company come in and so that we don’t create dust. So we don’t have to worry about that. So anodizing is very chemically, highly chemically involved.

[00:04:43] Sue: So there’s a lot of regulations that go on that, along with that, along with the wastewater treatment system, which you have to make sure is in compliance 24 7, 

[00:04:52] Mitch: Cause you’re discharging. Yeah, local pre-treatment works, correct? 

[00:04:56] Sue: Yeah. And then the assembly facility is really more along the safety part, the worker safety, and there’s really very few chemicals used there, any kind of in any kind of anything hazardous.

[00:05:11] Sue: It’s more ergonomics than hazards 

[00:05:15] Mitch: there. Okay. Now I’ve been to all the facilities. Your company is a client of mine and my previous job. And I just like to ask you to describe the changes you’ve seen from. Perception level because a lot of people who start listening to this podcast, probably have half the idea that factories are dark and dangerous and dingy and not a good place.

[00:05:39] Mitch: And we’re trying to change that image. And currently, my opinion is most factories today are not like that at all. So if you could describe it. One of the assembly plants looks like it now as opposed to before. 

[00:05:52] Sue: yeah, sure. There’s also another side to environmental safety regulations. There are different organizations out there. One of them is BRC, which I’d love to tell you what that stands for, but I forgot because they changed what it stood for. British. Yeah. Something like that, but then they changed it. But anyway, a, it’s a standard that if you are. Make containers for food.

[00:06:15] Sue: You have to be compliant with this. And so we are, we don’t actually don’t make food, but we’re compliant with it anyway. And that goes a long way. We were already headed in that direction, which has to do with the upkeep of the facility with rodents, which we’ve had. I don’t have you have to have all these mousetraps inside and outside so far away.

[00:06:39] Sue: So there’s absolutely there’s no nothing like that. So there’s that, and then there’s it goes along the sustainability lines where. We have led lighting and the before and after pictures are phenomenal. And not that the place was dingy before, but it’s just so bright. And then because of BRC requirements, we painted all the floors that are there, concrete floors, but they’re very nice, highly glossed floors and, places where people.

[00:07:10] Sue: Can walk and not have to, hearing protection is required because it is a loud environment, but if you’re on this one specific pathway where we take visitors, then you don’t have to wear hearing protection. You can have on flip-flops because of course, those are not allowed on the production floor, but it’s amazing how many people will come into.

[00:07:31] Sue: Dressed in their little sundresses and flip flops. And so we just made it a, an area where anyone can go and there are zero hazards. And then, so yeah we’ve got 

[00:07:41] Mitch: lighting. I think you, you painted all of the different pipes and like compressed airlines are one color and a fire, a sprinkler system is another color and the water lines are another 

[00:07:51] Sue: color again.

[00:07:52] Sue: Yeah. And that’s all, it’s not exactly code, but it’s suggested recommendations that fire be read. So yeah, we’ve done all of that. We have a lot of robots. That really assists. They D they do not replace people, but they assist, we used to have a lot of hand operations and we had several carpal tunnel injuries.

[00:08:15] Sue: And so we, we replaced those specific tasks with robots. So that has helped a lot, but you still have to have somebody there to watch the 

[00:08:23] Mitch: robot. I’d like to come back to that later in the show so that we can talk a little bit more about robots because again, there’s another misperception that robots are taking our jobs.

[00:08:32] Mitch: And I think you and I would maybe disagree with that to some degree. So we’ll come back to that. So basically on a day-to-day basis what kinds of stuff are you doing? 

[00:08:44] Sue: That’s an excellent question. It really, it all depends on the day because our four facilities there’s more than enough to do, but so it would depend on which facility I’m at, but there’s a lot of regulations.

[00:08:57] Sue: And then internal requirements you have quarterly, you have to do a visual check for stormwaters. Okay. That’s the only quarterly, but it’s four facilities, quarterly. You have as well on a monthly basis. Fire extinguisher checks, exit sign checks, ladder checks. And while I don’t physically do all of these, I have to make sure that the paperwork is there.

[00:09:23] Sue: And it’s all right. There’s a forklift logs that they have to do on a daily basis for wastewater treatment. The requirements. Really huge. And I do have a person at that facility who makes sure that is done on a daily basis because you have to monitor pH every minute. So I can’t exactly. I can’t be there.

[00:09:45] Sue: But then, aside from that, there’s also looking to improve one of the things that we did this year try to eliminate Freon because it’s not going to be available. So supposedly, and if it is, you’re going to pay an arm and a leg before it. The HPAC units were already, 15 plus years old let’s just replace them.

[00:10:04] Sue: So there’s just always some kind of a capital project going on. And then every day, I try to go out on the production floor. So people see me. So I’m available. If they have an issue, they can tell me about it. And so that’s, I think that’s, and then meetings all the time meetings, 

[00:10:27] Mitch: So that the there’s a terminology in the lean w sphere called to go to Gemba, which walks the floor, see, let’s see the things and.

[00:10:35] Mitch: Excellent practice for everybody. And especially for safety, cause people see you and they straighten up, they get into the right posture and, oh, I don’t have my earplugs in or whatever. And it keeps it on their mind. 

[00:10:46] Sue: We do a gimbal walk every morning at seven 30 also sell. 

[00:10:50] Mitch: So I know also your corporation has tried to do kaizens, right?

[00:10:58] Mitch: And you’ve got. A four 80. 

[00:11:02] Sue: Oh yeah. I forget what it’s called. 

[00:11:04] Mitch: Yeah. Yeah. The seven or day four. And it’s a piece of paper and you fill out the form and it’s basically something you’ve seen that needs improvement. And you’re supposed to get your team together and it’s a production level, cell or machine specific.

[00:11:21] Mitch: Do all those and you had to do those for safety 

[00:11:23] Sue: too, right? Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Actually, it’s quite a big deal. They do a monthly, everybody, all the I’m not really sure how many facilities there are, but we are in 18 countries. And so there’s gotta be at least 30, probably more like 50 facilities and everybody submits theirs.

[00:11:44] Sue: And then once a month they have a webinar and there’s, that they go through the top three. And so everybody gets, serve recognition. I don’t think you get anything for it besides recognition but it’s very nice to, and because we’re doing the same things all over the world, we really can learn from what someone else has done.

[00:12:04] Sue: You know what I’m saying? Wow. That’s it. That would work here. I can’t believe it. I didn’t think of that. 

[00:12:09] Mitch: Yeah. 

[00:12:09] Sue: Yeah, so that is definitely a big deal. 

[00:12:14] Mitch: That’s excellent. And you get to showcase safety. Are there other people around the world, in your company that’s doing safety cause 

[00:12:20] Sue: yes.

[00:12:21] Sue: Yes, it is. It is something that we are getting into more and more. It’s when I first started with the company like 20 years ago, I was the only safety person. And now I can’t say there’s one in every facility, but that’s the goal. And we now have a vice president of environmental health and safety.

[00:12:42] Sue: So that goes a long way and they are they have apt her own rules you have for.

[00:12:54] Mitch: Yeah. 

[00:12:54] Sue: The vice president of environmental health safety and sustainability has written procedures for all of the facilities to adhere to which go above and beyond anything that OSHA requires. So it is the company has invested. A lot in safety, and environmental sustainability. 

[00:13:20] Mitch: Okay. That’s great to hear.

[00:13:21] Mitch: And I know you’ve been the champion in the Northeast region at the minimum and also a big team. Nationally for this company, because you were the first EHS person and of course, recycling came naturally. And then we, I think we did carbon footprints and then we got more into sustainability as a broad focus.

[00:13:41] Mitch: And if you could just talk a little about the journey you’ve seen your company take because of you in that way. You. You are a big cornerstone in the building of sustainability building for that company? 

[00:13:57] Sue: Yeah, it’s I think everyone, if you can make a good case, then the company will invest.

[00:14:06] Sue: And one of the biggest bonuses. What Connecticut has, is that the utility companies are willing to help you invest. And that made a lot of the projects that have been done. It made the ROI much more achievable. And I’m trying to think of, I’ve been there for a while. All of the things that we’ve done on just think the, probably the biggest one, which.

[00:14:36] Sue: Really made me feel wonderful about the company as we put on a 45,000 square foot warehouse edition and they totally invested in everything green because they were starting from scratch. And there was no question about it. It was just like, yep. This is the right thing to do. This is what we’re going to do, as opposed to what you already have lighting, why do we need new.

[00:14:58] Sue: With the new warehouse safety was definitely in there. Also, they got a dock locks, that’s at a loading dock trucks back up and a big arm comes out and locks them to the dock so that they can’t move. You don’t have to worry if somebody uses the I can’t think of what they.

[00:15:17] Sue: No, no chocks. Yeah. So you don’t have to worry about the driver if he chocks it or not, because he’s locked. He’s locked in yet. So along with sustainability, which I know we put in a white roof, we did LED lighting. We did also did the lighting. Comes on only when somebody is in that portion of the 

[00:15:40] Mitch: it’s like each individual fixture has a lighting sensor.

[00:15:43] Mitch: And then as you walked down the rows of the high bay storage units, it comes on click click. It’s like the old, get a smart show, walking down the hallway. 

[00:15:56] Sue: But yeah, that’s because it’s a forklift. It can’t be everywhere all the time. So it’s all the lights are only on when someone is in that aisle.

[00:16:06] Sue: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So they, there, there was safety, there was sustainability, everything was, it was all done. And that, that’s a very good thing. We, whenever we have. That’s what we do, but you have to wait for it to be time to upgrade.

[00:16:23] Sue: Can I see? 

[00:16:24] Mitch: Yep. Okay, cool. Very cool. And I know you’ve also done a bunch of things with like air compressors or variable speed drive, air compressors, and doing a leak check and repair program on the machinery. So it’s not leaking extra air and you’ve done a great job with e-waste also, 

[00:16:43] Sue: right? Yeah. Oh yeah.

[00:16:45] Sue: Yeah. That’s the. That’s actually my target for this year. And it’s something that you had suggested we do getting these nozzles specific nozzles so that we’re not using more air than we need to push parts. Yep. Yes. Oh, it’s amazing. How much quiet. Yes. Know. Researched this and read a lot about it.

[00:17:08] Sue: And that’s our project for this year. Because as far as I know, we’ve done everything we can on the actual machine end. We got new energy, efficient air compressor, and variable speed. You got the tank. Yeah, we just, every, everything is brand new, but we still use a lot of compressed air.

[00:17:28] Sue: So now we’re looking at the end-use and what we can do there. 

[00:17:32] Mitch: Yeah, I think that’s a 

[00:17:33] Sue: great. Now, one thing that I didn’t talk about was our HPAC system that we have an energy management system and it’s called Catalyst. I, there are a lot of systems out there. I’m only familiar with this one and it’s absolutely wonderful because it alerts you.

[00:17:51] Sue: If something’s wrong, you can look at it. It shows you your savings tells you how much outside air you’re using. So you can really see the efficiency. If it’s cool outside it’ll bring in the cool air and and it keeps the thermostats off the wall so nobody can mess with 

[00:18:13] Mitch: you don’t need those fake ones that people 

[00:18:17] Sue: just do that when they went complaints, I say, oh let me see.

[00:18:21] Sue: And then I go back and say in a show, so is that better? Oh yeah, it’s better. 

[00:18:25] Mitch: I think that happens in every building. So one of the things I know from that system is that it takes the utility rate for natural gas and electricity and applies it to what is tracking for savings and use.

[00:18:40] Mitch: So every month you can generate a report, if you wish saying, yeah, we saved $3,000 in August or something like that. That’s one of the benefits of some of these new forthcoming technologies. It is being able to track what you want at the level. You need to prove things. So the sustainability efforts in manufacturing in the green projects go through the same, or maybe sometimes higher scrutiny, financial.

[00:19:14] Mitch: Because people don’t immediately see the benefits. If your machine is broken on the shop floor, the one machine that makes the widget there is no argument that you need to buy a new machine as soon as possible. But if someone says your machine is still running, but if we added this piece of additional equipment, it would consume 50% less energy.

[00:19:34] Mitch: The first thing people are gonna say is. How long is it gonna take to pay back my investment? And is it, how do I know it’s really saving energy? Even with lighting we’ve seen people say how do I know I’m really saving energy and lighting and you can do the math, but they don’t see it in the 

[00:19:48] Sue: electric bill.

[00:19:49] Sue: That’s right. We never see it in the electric bill. And part of that is because we never have a base share. We’re constantly switching out machines, getting new machines, and getting rid of old machines. You can’t complain compare 20, 19 to 2018 because you’re not doing the same 

[00:20:05] Mitch: thing. And if you didn’t switch out machines, I think sometimes you change your shifts, change your hours, or just the production levels change.

[00:20:14] Mitch: Yeah. So w 

[00:20:16] Sue: we try, we try to find, some way to base it, electricity per part made, but that’s difficult too. And, that’s why I really liked the system. It’s not me saying it and it’s right there. I, every month I can go and say, we saved $3,000 this month and electricity, even though no one sees it in the bill.

[00:20:36] Sue: It’s there in black and white. 

[00:20:38] Mitch: Yeah. And you can generate a report and say, here we say, we’re still saving money. Yup. Yup. And that’s good. Also from the standpoint of the utility company, when they’re doing their rebates to the project costs, they always want to see that they can track something because they ultimately are responsible to their board and the shareholders of the utility company.

[00:20:58] Mitch: So that’s cool. So we were on the track of how you changed the corporation to be more aware of sustainability, and I think it started, if I remember correctly, it started with a couple of facilities in the Midwest and the Strafford plant. Your efforts plus the 

[00:21:17] Sue: green team, right?

[00:21:18] Sue: Yeah. This was before we had a vice president of environmental health, safety, and sustainability. We did our own homegrown sustainability team and each facility would have someone who either volunteered or was volunteered to be the sustainability person. And typically it would be like the facilities person.

[00:21:40] Sue: Because I have control over, compressed air and HACs and stuff like that. So we just it just grew we started meeting annually. We’d do a little dog and pony show, I’d say, oh, this is what I did. And then they’d give a presentation and say this is what I did. And this is what I did.

[00:21:58] Sue: And once again, because of the similarities of the facilities, we were like, oh, I could do that. I could do that. Oh, check out this system that he has for his HPAC look at his energy management system. I want one of those. And so it, it really, it led to a lot of number one original innovation, and then just.

[00:22:23] Sue: Copying and not reinventing the wheel and say, no, this works for you. Okay. I’ve been trying to decide what to use. This is what I’m going to do. And yeah, the, it was real, just very homegrown and grassroots. Yeah. Everyone really got a lot out of it and learn to really utilize other people.

[00:22:47] Mitch: And I know that you were also one of the starters of an earth day project with the energizing. 

[00:22:55] Sue: I’ve always celebrated earth day, so it just seemed right to do something. And so we started with cleaning up. Just like just around the facilities. And then we boy, we’ve done so many different things.

[00:23:08] Sue: We’ve had people come in and talk like the Audubon society came in and talked about endangered birds. We did electronic waste recycling all, and then some games sometimes there’s, stuck earth day stuff on the internet and you can. And answer questions or whatever and give out prizes.

[00:23:26] Sue: And yeah it’s always been, it’s always been a lot of fun, just, just to get people involved in one of them, and that was, I’ve actually been very impressed. People that I didn’t specifically know anything about all of a sudden it earth day had all these wonderful ideas and they, one woman took up a big week.

[00:23:47] Sue: The what the telephone wire would come on. Oh yeah. School. Thank you. But it’s plastic and she filled it up with dirt and plaintiff potatoes in there and it, just all these people would bring in pictures, because if you could prove that you did something, then you got a t-shirt or a hat or a lunchbox or something like that.

[00:24:08] Sue: And I was really impressed with some of the things people did and a lot of people had solar. Which I found surprising. 

[00:24:15] Mitch: Huh? Yeah. And this is in Connecticut. Yeah. Can I get it? It has a pretty good program for that. So especially the residential side. That’s cool. And I don’t think maybe, I don’t know all the, all those machinations up at the upper level, but I don’t think there have been enough kudos given to the originators of the.

[00:24:40] Mitch: Committees and the earth day committees that this company had started basically grassroots. And then now it’s managed from the 

[00:24:48] Sue: top. Yeah. That’s yeah. Now. Yeah. 

[00:24:51] Mitch: That’s something that maybe you need a plaque of your own. I wanna come back to what you mentioned earlier about the robots.

[00:24:59] Mitch: Cause, as I said earlier in the program, a lot of people think robots are gonna take jobs and we’re gonna all be serving the mighty robot army or something. And so far, I really haven’t seen that in my experience inside factories. So if you could tell me a little bit about the situation with the first robots, I believe they were packing robot.

[00:25:19] Mitch: Correct. And what just recap, what precipitated the purchase of those robots that. People are still being used and robots are still being used 

[00:25:27] Sue: together. Yeah. It’s we had we make pumps and they’re for like perfume and liquid soap and stuff like that. And sometimes depending on who the buyer is, they have to be placed in the box in a very precise manner.

[00:25:45] Sue: Yeah, so we would have four to 6:00 PM. On a convey of a conveyor line and they would take the pumps and placed them in the box. 

[00:25:55] Mitch: Cardboard shipping box, cardboard shipping boxes. Yes. 

[00:25:59] Sue: Yes. a, It’s pretty, it’s a pretty big box. It’s a, it’s a 16 by 16, 

[00:26:03] Sue: 18 by 18. So they would, and that’s what they did all day was stand there, sit there, and put the pumps in the box and.

[00:26:13] Sue: We had now, anyway, that some of these ladies ended up having carpal tunnel and the worst part about the carpal tunnel, besides all the pain and suffering is, then they would come back to work to do the same job. 

[00:26:29] Mitch: And they would 

[00:26:30] Sue: get carpal tunnel again. And it was just an, and everyone felt bad, but so it was just this vicious circle.

[00:26:40] Sue: That was a that was the first robot that we got was was a box packer. And so all those ladies are still working there. And, but they just, they’re just, they’re doing other things. And pretty much when we utilize robots there for tasks that people shouldn’t be doing, so it’s not taking a job or if it is taking a job, it’s a.

[00:27:01] Sue: Is going to lead to injury at some point. And nobody wants that. And it does it certainly speeds up the pace. So then you need more people to keep up because things are going out. 

[00:27:13] Mitch: The pumps are coming out of the assembling machines, right? So there are people feeding parts into the assembly machines, then the pumps come out and give us back them.

[00:27:20] Mitch: And then they check the boxes and they do quite

[00:27:27] Sue: Yeah there’s plenty of work to do with the robots. And that’s really, that’s the only way we use robots. I know I’m looking to get into some kind of a material handling system because one of the facilities, get resin. They don’t have a silo. And so it comes in bags and now the bags are at least 50 pounds.

[00:27:50] Sue: Like I think they’re more like 70 and somebody picks up these bags and dumps them into a vacuum system to go to the machines. And I’d really like to get some kind of suction cup thing or whatever, it’ll pick up the bag and then they will be somebody there who will then have to cut the bag open and see that it dumps in where it needs to go.

[00:28:13] Sue: So there’s a lot, there’s a lot of opportunities for automation and that’s really, that is really what. Manufacturing is going because people do get hurt and you can show somebody how to properly lift as much as you want. Yeah. But even, and even if they have the best of intentions and they always lift the right way, except that one time, 

[00:28:36] Mitch: if somebody calls their name just as they’re lifting, or there’s a loud noise over in the corner and they turned to see what it is while they’re holding something, all these little things could happen. 

[00:28:47] Sue: Worked a lot with Connecticut OSHA and they are a consulting out of the group. They are not OSHA.

[00:28:55] Sue: They’re here to help manufacturers or their state 

[00:28:58] Mitch: organization. But they’re, non-regulatory, they’re not going to fight. 

[00:29:01] Sue: They tell you what you’re doing wrong, and if you don’t fix it, they will tell OSHA and then OSHA will come in and find you. So you don’t want to call them if you’re not planning on fixing anything.

[00:29:10] Sue: But they have been really helpful in one of the things that they have really stressed is you’ve got a manufacturer. All the ergonomics are manufactured in. I’m not sure, you’ve got to, you’ve got to get these material handling systems. You’ve got to do this. You’ve gotta do this because otherwise, people are people 

[00:29:29] Mitch: we’ll just keep getting injured.

[00:29:31] Mitch: Yeah. And I know there’s also the whole issue of people getting into manufacturing when they’re 18 or 20. A solid career and the benefits are huge. You can go to school, you can get a steady paycheck, really good pay, healthy care, just get in your set. So people stay. Yeah. I think you have a whole core of people who’ve been there for 

[00:29:55] Sue: Whatever.

[00:29:55] Sue: I think the mean age is 67. Yeah. I was talking to a woman the other day. Who’s 82 years old. She’s still working and she’s still wearing,

[00:30:10] Sue: so it’s, anyone can do 

[00:30:11] Mitch: it, anyone can do it. And so because of that, since you have this common shift towards an older population than, or not must become even more. 

[00:30:21] Sue: And that’s exactly why, and this is a big Upcoming issue because it’s Connecticut, a lot of the people who work at the facility are Italian, or they tend to be smaller shorter stature.

[00:30:40] Sue: Yeah. And now the new people that we’re hiring at 18. 

[00:30:47] Mitch: Big 

[00:30:50] Sue: the difference between them is at least afoot. Wow. So while we’ve been building all these platforms for people to reach all of a sudden, these new people come in and they’re all hunched over trying to do the job. Yeah, we’ve got to think, we’ve got to figure, it’s got to be in what you, Dennis, even more money.

[00:31:14] Sue: Just a platform is like $1,500. So if you want to make it adjustable that your predator can have $5,000 and we have 62 machines so it’s not inexpensive, but. Neither is an injury and injury is very expensive, right? But it’s just, that was something that I didn’t see coming until.

[00:31:30] Sue: And it’s because some PE first shift, everyone has been there forever. Second shift. When I see the people on second shift, I’m like, wow, this is very different. So that’s something else that we’ve got to. If we’ve got to look at and try and manage, 

[00:31:45] Mitch: One other time. Comes to mind. And I know we’ve touched on that you are located on the shoreline and in long island sound and there’s been a couple of hurricanes that have come through.

[00:32:01] Mitch: And its my belief that there’s probably going to be more what is your facility in that particular location or any of the locations doing for. Preparedness that fun. Cause that certainly falls under your safety and environmental 

[00:32:15] Sue: health. Yes, it does. And I will say, I believe it’s going to happen.

[00:32:20] Sue: We came really close a few years ago. The water was up to the door. The parking lot was flooded, but absolutely nothing was inside. We are in the hundred-year flood, plain and supposedly. There could be four feet of water in the building. So as far as we’re aware and the one, one of the proactive things that we have done is when we order machines, when we buy new machines, we have all the electrical on the top as opposed to on the bottom.

[00:32:56] Sue: Okay. Saltwater’s going to do a whole lot of damage. Yeah. At least, we don’t have the electrical down there. We have some plans in place. Like our warehouse, everything will be taken off the bottom and, move to the top. Or we have another place, another facility where we can take stuff, but.

[00:33:19] Sue: We’re not going to know until something happens, how many truckers are going to be available to truck the stuff. Yeah. And at what point do we pull the trigger? At four hours before, 24 hours before. So we’ve gone through the practice, we’ve gone through what we should do.

[00:33:40] Sue: Luckily, we haven’t had to actually do it, but it all, it depends on a whole lot of other people. And I don’t know how many other people are depending on those people. Cause they don’t tell you 

[00:33:53] Mitch: that. Yeah. I’ve got six other clients that are going to ask me to move stuff further up. Yeah. At the 

[00:34:00] Sue: exact same at the exact same time.

[00:34:02] Sue: Yeah. So yeah, it is a big concern. 

[00:34:05] Mitch: Sitting in the background. Yes. Yeah. It’s pretty much common for everybody. Yeah. So I personally don’t even think about it until it becomes, August. Yeah. Because that’s really when around here hurricane season starts to kick up a little bit, yeah. Cool. Do you have any other thoughts? Oh, one other question I was going to ask you is if there was someone out there listening who wanted to get into a job as you have. It sounds like a lot of fun, a lot of different things to look at and learn about how would you suggest they go about approaching the education and training necessary to get a position like yours?

[00:34:43] Sue: I definitely think college is your needed degree. Does it have to be in safety? There are keen. I know it has a degree for safety. It doesn’t necessarily have to be safe because pretty much you’ve learned everything by reading the regulations and everyone thinks they know about safety and they order things and say, oh, I got this for safety and no, that’s not what’s needed.

[00:35:11] Sue: And and just a simple example is somebody complains about. So a supervisor orders, a dust mask, which they think is a dust mask, but it’s not, it’s a respirator and it’s defined as a respirator. If it has two elastics, anything with two elastics, even if it’s paper is a respirator, that means anyone who wears it has to have the spirometry where your lung capacity.

[00:35:38] Sue: So all of a sudden now we’re out of compliance. And if OSHA came, they’d say limit, let me see, let me see the results from the spirometry. And I’m like, but so it’s easy to think, you know what you’re doing and you’re doing the right thing and they are, they’re trying to protect their employee, but it really comes.

[00:35:56] Sue: It comes down to, you’ve got to, you’ve got to read the regulations, both the environmental and the OSHA regulations. And there are a lot of them. And then trying to keep current is difficult. You’ve got to be in associations or otherwise. Yeah. Otherwise, I don’t have time to read all.

[00:36:16] Sue: Stuff comes into my mailbox all the time and I just, I delete, I don’t have time to, to read all that, but I do think that. A broad just general college degree would be fine because it really is all in the details. 

[00:36:31] Mitch: Yeah. It’s not like accounting where you can go to school for accounting and then immediately becoming to, you have to go be a person inside the facility and understand that facility.

[00:36:44] Mitch: That’s excellent. And then also the one thing that I so want to talk about is women in manufacturing because we have a skills gap and there’s also a gender gap in manufacturing. And if you could maybe talk a little bit about your experience in as basically executive level management, high management.

[00:37:05] Mitch: In the manufacturing and covering four facilities and how, however many other women you’ve seen, that shop floor and the offices work position. 

[00:37:14] Sue: As far as health and safety and sustainability go is that I’ve been in it for 30 years. And when I first started, there were very few women, very few, and it has gotten much.

[00:37:29] Sue: Just as far as, like, when I go to seminars or association meetings, there are more women there, but yeah, it’s still basically male-dominated. And although executive positions, in general, are definitely male-dominated. They are not where I work. I believe there are three. And the executive committee let’s call it the management team.

[00:37:59] Sue: Yep. And I’m going to say five women. Oh, wow. Yeah. So that is not an issue where I work. 

[00:38:10] Mitch: Great. That’s excellent. That’s really nice to hear. I think that’s about to wrap us up for this very interesting podcast. You’ve been a phenomenal podcast interviewee and I really thank you for coming on the shelf.

[00:38:23] Mitch: Let’s get a thank you to Sue Schneider, she’s an EH&S professional for a large multinational. Is it health and beauty products? 

[00:38:31] Sue: Category, pharma, food, everything. Yeah. 

[00:38:35] Mitch: Yup. Okay. Dispensing solutions. Yeah. Thank you for listening. And I will put show notes in the webpage for this podcast, as well as links to various things that we’ve mentioned.

[00:38:46] Mitch: Thanks so much. And we’ll see you next week.

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