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NSSGA Podcast

Oct 5, 2023

In yet another compelling episode of Safety Shorts, Libby welcomes DJ Schmutz, an advocate from MSHA Safety Services, to highlight the paramount importance of fostering a strong workplace safety culture and encourage individuals to assert their Stop Work Authority in hazardous situations. DJ's gripping personal story vividly illustrates the human inclination to yield to external pressures, emphasizing that safety ultimately rests in one's own hands. This episode underscores the significance of personal responsibility in safety, the role of leadership in shaping a safety-oriented environment, and the fact that safety is not just a job - it's a mindset and a commitment. Join Libby and DJ on this enlightening journey, and remember, your safety journey begins with you.

Episode Highlights:

  • Cultivating a robust workplace safety culture

  • Asserting one's Stop Work Authority in unsafe situations

  • Taking personal responsibility for safety.

  • Sharing personal safety narratives

  • Self-reflection and learning from past mistakes

  • The role of leadership in promoting a culture of safety

  • The need for continuous education and advocacy in the realm of occupational safety

Toolbox Talk Discussion Questions:

  • In this episode, DJ shares a story where he was asked to do something he felt uncomfortable doing and the results. How do you think he could have avoided this situation?

  • How do you feel our company culture honors and supports worker’s Stop Work Authority? Do you feel like you have the skills and the support to use Stop Work Authority?

  • Does anyone have a story about a time where you advocated for yourself and your safety?


"At the end of the day, the safety person is the one looking back at you from the mirror."

"It's hard sometimes to use our Stop Work Authority, but being in a culture and a position to be able to say that if I feel unsafe, I'm not going to do something, I think is what we're all really striving for."

"We have to be responsible, take ownership for our safety."

"Safety is not just a job; it's a mindset, a responsibility, and a commitment to protecting oneself and others."

"Owning a mistake and sharing our stories can be powerful tools for creating a culture of safety."


National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association website

MSHA Safety Services