Featured Employee: Matt RiehlShare
A new member of the Weaver family, Safety Director Matt Riehl ensures that Weaver sites are some of the safest places to work. In addition to his passion for safety, Matt is currently learning to fly an airplane. Read on to learn what makes Matt unique in and out of the workplace.
What is an average day like for you on the job?
There’s a variety of different things – including making policy changes, doing jobsite inspections, training, and things like that.
What type of training do you offer?
Any safety type training. Fall protection, forklift, any kind of machinery or anything that has to do with our jobsites.
What do you like most about your work?
I like getting out on the jobsites interacting with the guys and solving their safety problems.
What parts of your job inspire you?
Specifically with this job, with Weaver, seeing how seriously guys take it. That inspires me to keep going. Also how seriously the owners take the safety issue for their employees. It’s a rewarding job providing the training for that.
What are your feelings on Weaver’s no time lost to injury streak?
I plan on keeping it going to four years and beyond! It’s something they’ve always taken seriously. I take it seriously as well. The streak keeps the guys motivated.
Was there a particular moment that compelled you to try to keep people as safe as possible?
Probably about 14 years ago I started in sales of safety construction equipment. I saw the need and wanted to get in to training aspect as well. Equipment and training go hand in hand. It’s impossible to measure, but hopefully, I have saved some people’s lives and prevented some people from getting injured.
How do you learn about safety? On the job or college?
Primarily on the job but I did take some certification courses through OSHA. I’m currently in school for an associate’s degree in it as well.
Have you always had an eye for safety?
Yes. I’ve always been that way, and through my education, it’s probably been enhanced. Working around my house I’ve always used the proper equipment. Putting up Christmas lights, for example, I’m always tied off, and things like that. I’m also studying to be a pilot so safety goes hand and hand with that too.
What type of projects are you implementing?
First, I took the existing safety program that was written 10 years ago and updated and refined that. That has been my task to this point. I’m introducing that to the guys, getting that into the guy’s hands. In addition to that, I’ve revamped the safety committee.
What is it like to work at Weaver?
Working at Weaver is very rewarding because there is such a strong team mentality.
What makes Weaver different from other places you’ve worked.
Primarily, putting employees first separates Weaver from other places. Not that previous employers didn’t care, but at Weaver, it is to the maximum. And in addition, Weaver puts safety first. Employee safety is number one and that goes back to caring for the employees.
What’s your family like?
I have a daughter, she just turned six. She’s getting ready to start kindergarten. We enjoy playing golf and going to see movies together!
What are your hobbies?
Of course, flying airplanes, golfing, waterskiing, and boating. Those are my primary hobbies, and of course, I love spending time with my daughter.
What does it feel like to Water Ski?
It’s awesome—a great experience. There’s nothing like being in the water on a nice, hot day.
What type of plane do you fly?
It’s a Cesna 152, two seater, single engine airplane. It’s as small as you can get.
What do you enjoy about flying?
Being in the air and being able to look down, it’s a different perspective on the world. It’s quiet. In a smaller airplane, you feel every little bump, every little thing. You basically are the airplane.
How do the safety precautions you use when flying connect to Weaver?
Aviation and NASA are very strict about following a checklist and a pre-flight inspection. That transfers to the training for aerial lifts and forklifts—it goes hand-in-hand with being prepared. In construction, you always have to have a plan, just like a flight plan.
I always ask people in training “what’s the difference between falling out of an airplane compared to falling 60 feet out of an aerial lift?” My answer is: “Nothing. You just have more time to think about falling from the airplane.”
Do you ever tell people that you’re keeping it Riehl?
People tell me that. I gave up on it a while ago. People do tell me that though. Or they call me the “Riehl deal!”