Faces of Magnum:
Safety and Compliance Lead Ken Rheault is committed to creating a safe workplace for Magnum employees across all divisions.
What is your current job title?
I am the Safety and Compliance Lead, meaning I deal with work comp injuries. It’s also my job to be the person on staff who knows the most about OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).
How long have you worked at Magnum?
Just about two years now. I was promoted to Safety and Compliance lead about 3-4 months ago.
Why did you choose to work at Magnum?
Magnum was always on my radar because it’s a smaller, family-owned company with the potential to be a larger, corporate company. When I was looking for a change, Magnum kept popping up. I thought, “This is what I want to do.” I knew I didn’t want to work for a company where I would have to dive through a dozen VPs just to get a question answered. So far, it’s been exactly what I hoped.
How did you get your start working in safety?
I was working for another company as a supervisor and had just completed my associates degree in human resources. I planned on leaving to pursue a career in HR, but my boss came up to me and offered me a full-time supervising position, alongside some other projects.
Then, our Risk Control Manager left the company very suddenly, and my boss asked me to fill in. Ultimately, it just kind of worked out for me to step into that role. It was a step in the right direction toward where I wanted to go, and I’ve been working in the safety field ever since.
Can you tell us a bit about the day-to-day of your job?
There are definitely peaks and valleys. If there is an incident, I can go from working on things that I just kind of want to work on to “Okay, this is my focus now.” I need to toss everything else to the side. I go through all of my steps to make sure it is properly handled. If there are 2-3 of those in a day, it can get a little bit crazy. There is a lot involved with the A-Z of an injury – making sure that everything is handled correctly. I have to do a lot of paperwork, get all the discussions done and then move on to corrective actions to fix it.
I work with all five divisions – everybody is the same to me. For the most part, if someone gets hurt, it doesn’t matter where they are at — I will still handle it the same way.
When I’m not handling an injury, I like to check in on general safety things. For example, ensuring that the exit signs are lit up in every facility. If someone comes to work, I want them to know that they are 100% safe working here.
What’s the best part of your job?
Definitely the people!
What is the hardest part about your job?
I don’t think there’s anything I could say is the hardest part. When I was new to risk control, the hardest part of my job actually was dealing with people. Unfortunately, injuries aren’t always 100% truthful. Dealing with people who weren’t necessarily being truthful was the hardest part for me when I first started. Also, it can be tough getting supervisors on board with the policies and procedures we put in place to prevent injuries. Getting them to understand the hard and soft costs of what injuries are – that used to be extremely difficult for me. Now, I don’t even think about it because I’m so used to teaching that kind of stuff. I’m just able to handle it better.
What is something in your career that you are proud of?
Getting to where I am right now! I never really thought that this is something I would pursue. Turns out, I’m not half bad at it!
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your role?
Learn how to do your research and be very patient. Without patience, you’ll crash and burn in a hurry.
What is something people might not know about you?
This may not be a surprise for people who have seen my work area, but I’m a bit of a kid. I’ve got just about 10,000 comic books. I have some that are worth a lot of money, but it’s the ones that are worth something to me that are my prized possessions.
Have you ever been to Comic-Con?
Yes! I went to one in Chicago a few years ago. It was so amazing. I met so many cool people. The car from Supernatural was there, and as I was looking at it, I saw two people standing behind me in the reflection of the mirror. It was actually the brothers from the show, and we started having a conversation just the three of us. It was really cool.
What do you like to do when you aren’t at work?
I work out a lot – most of the time twice a day. I enjoy hanging out with my friends, and I’m not opposed to going out and having a few drinks and throwing darts.
What’s your favorite food?
I’ll eat anything on a pizza – I’ve had chocolate covered grasshoppers on a pizza. I don’t think I have a go-to favorite food though
If you could have anyone in the world — living or dead, real or fictional — over for dinner, who would you choose and why?
So many people come to mind. People like Abraham Lincoln or Alexander the Great – it would be cool to see if they were the same as they are described in the history books.
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