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The education of safety

image Ken Baldwin, district manager of Ritz Safety’s Houston office.

HOUSTON - Ken Baldwin is a newcomer to the world of Ritz Safety. He was brought on to be the district manager of Ritz’s Houston office April of this year. This location opened up around six years ago.






    Baldwin’s background was in Western wear in general, but he specialized in fire-resistant clothing and safety footwear.
    Thus, coming into the Ritz Safety fold has been quite the education. “I’m learning a whole lot of new product categories that I just didn’t have any knowledge of in the past,” he said. “Every day is a new challenge for me just because there is so much that can be learned.”
    The Houston area not only has a booming construction business, but the oil and gas industries are dynamic in and of itself with its own challenges.
    However, Baldwin stated that “The number one recordable citation from OSHA in jobsites is fall protection.” The primary culprit in incidents is the residential construction market, where it’s easy (and convenient) to hire day labor or someone who wants to make some quick cash working on a roof. This person simply may not be aware of what can be done to ensure his or her safety.
    “It’s us educating these contracting companies” about how Ritz can help them that fills much of Baldwin’s time.
    “There’s a void in the industry for training,” he said. Bigger companies aren’t a problem; it’s the smaller to medium-sized ones that are. “It’s scary,” Baldwin said. “We try at Ritz to provide the best training that we can” in order to minimize safety incidents. “Fall protection is definitely our strong suit.”
    “Secondly, it’s hand protection: being able to provide cut-resistant gloves, impact-rated gloves,” he added. “The balance is going home to your family.”
    Baldwin sums up his role at Ritz thusly: “Every day you wake up and it’s not the same as yesterday. There is no boredom.”
    Looks like Baldwin gets an “A” in the world of safety.
    Ritz Safety is family owned and has its corporate headquarters in Dayton, OH, with an office in Houston. -dsz

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Author Info
Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net