Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Becoming a High-Flying Safety Advocate: Dave Brueher May Have Changed Physically, but His Passion for Safety Is Steadfast and Inspirational

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Becoming a High-Flying Safety Advocate: Dave Brueher May Have Changed Physically, but His Passion for Safety Is Steadfast and Inspirational

Article excerpt

Dave Brueher is a fraction of the person he used to be--and it's all for the better. Knowing that being overweight was neither good for him nor a support to the safety and health message he sought to inspire, Brueher dropped to 235 pounds from his former 372-pound frame. He made other important personal changes, cut his past-shoulder-length hair and now presents himself in a new way.

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Interestingly, Brueher, who started as a union worker coming up through the ranks, credits his involvement in safety with helping give him "the capacity to make significant changes" in his personal life.

Brueher's been a safety advocate and catalyst for more than 20 years. He's worked as an insulator, sander masker, saw operator, spindle shaper operator, tool fabricator and more. He helped craft Boeing 747 aircraft and then was hired in the company's 777 aircraft division.

He was promoted last year from program manager to administrator with the International Association of Machinists--Boeing Health & Safety Institute ("IAM-Boeing HSI"). (Web site: http://www.iam-boeing.com/)

Formed out of a 1989 contract, IAM-Boeing HSI is a pioneering management-labor organization that spearheads safety projects throughout Boeing, focusing on spreading innovative approaches past safety obstacles that create mutual wins for both company and workers. There are an equal number of management and union representatives running this joint program.

As an IAM-Boeing HSI administrator on the "union" side, Brueher works closely with Boeing's in-house safety arm (SHEA), develops and provides training and consultation, screens prospective programs and more. Beyond his administrative role, he has a reputation for having positively impacted thousands of people within Boeing with his safety messages and training.

NO NEED TO WEAR OUT

Brueher didn't start off valuing safety. "I was raised with a John Wayne attitude where you sacrifice your body for your job." But through association with safety, he says he learned "you don't have to wear out."

Even prior to beginning with IAM-Boeing HSI at its inception, he was a huge advocate of safety as a union steward, then counselor, then site safety representative.

No burnout here. After two decades as a safety proponent, Brueher's enthusiasm and commitment to safety looms large. "Safety has changed my life. I'm more connected and aware of life that goes around me," he says.

What can we learn from Brueher to elevate us into stronger, more effective safety catalysts? …

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