Safety Expert Understands Common Sense Is Only As Common As One’s Experience

Reid Parkhurst has a career in safety that spans 35 years. After working with the DOD, all branches of the military, law enforcement, and nearly every industry outside of pharmaceuticals, Reid is now the Director of Environmental Health and Safety for IIA. Reid supports the efforts of IIA’s entire organization in its pursuit of safety excellence. He believes that being cognizant of surroundings, understanding the possibilities of risk and knowing how to prevent injuries are the first steps to consistent safety.

Reid grew up in a small farming community where necessity was the proverbial mother of invention. If there was a need for something, he built it or modified something that already existed. In doing so, he quickly realized the potential for injury during each activity. He may not have known it at the time, but this is where Reid first began to understand, and map out, how to get hurt and how not to get hurt.

Reid always thought he wanted to be an auto mechanic, never even considering college until his mother sparked his interest by asking if he had “thought about going to college.” Shortly thereafter, they went together to sign up for his first college course, and he eventually went on to earn a degree in Industrial Hygiene and Safety.

Reid likes to interact with IIA personnel, encouraging them to reflect on how they accomplish their days safely. In an effort to prevent injuries, Reid leads IIA team members to think proactively by asking open-ended questions that help the person or group he is talking to have a true awareness of their surroundings. Reid generates this awareness by using four simple questions to help people think about their surroundings and how to remain safe:

  1. What am I about to do?
  2. How could I get hurt doing this?
  3. How severe would the injury be?
  4. What could I do to prevent this?

Reid’s commitment to safety stems from a deep appreciation and understanding that safety is invaluable to our customers. They need the peace of mind to know they’re getting a technically competent person with a professional mindset who holds safety and quality of work as top priorities. Reid says, “Safety is about planning, and there is a lot of planning that goes into what we do here at IIA.” He understands if there are slips, trips or falls, we need to make it a priority to communicate it, fix it and move forward, which helps to keep everyone safe.

Reid takes nothing for granted nor does he assume anything when it comes to other peoples’ knowledge about safety and says, “Common sense is only as common as one’s experience.” This mentality is why he’s been happy and successful in his three decades-long pursuit of safety. He says the best thing about his job is knowing that IIA appreciates the importance of safety and the significance of his role within the organization, because “The safer we perform, the more success is realized on many different levels, especially our customer’s trust.” At the end of the day, success, as defined by Reid, is everyone going home safely at the end of the day.


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