From Physical Therapist to Remote Safety Management ConsultantSep 13, 2023
From Physical Therapist to Remote Safety Management Consultant
If you are interested in working in the field of ergonomics, often also called safety management or injury prevention, then this is a great article for you - as we share how a physical therapist transitioned into the role of Safety Management Consultant!
What is your background and what is your current role?
My name is Clayton Cartwright and I have been working for 3 years as a Safety Management Consultant for MEMIC (Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Company).
MEMIC is a workers’ comp insurance provider, and my role is to support our policyholders with their workplace safety programs.
Prior to that, I worked 12 years as a Physical Therapist in a variety of settings including orthopedics/sports medicine, skilled nursing, assisted living, and home care.
I completed my degrees in Athletic Training and Physical Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh and after two years in my current role, I sat for and passed my ASP (Associate Safety Professional) exam through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.
What interested you in the safety management field?
I have always been into health and wellness and have personally seen the impact of eating a healthy diet and exercising in reducing my risk of injury.
When I worked as a physical therapist in the outpatient setting, I would joke with my patients that “I hope I never see you again” with the goal to empower them to take control of their own condition. My passion for health and wellness, and bouncing around in different areas of PT, helped me realize that I wanted to do something that focused on prevention.
How did you find this role in ergonomics/safety management?
I found my current role through indeed using searches like Loss Control, Safety Consultant, Environmental, Health, and Safety, Safety Specialist…etc.
Doing searches for those terms would often return other job titles that I would add to my searches.
I was fortunate that the role I have now was looking for someone with healthcare experience because a lot of our policy holders are senior living communities.
There were no other certifications that I needed but I would recommend this group investigate The Association of Safe Patient Handling Professionals (https://asphp.org/) and Board of Certified Safety Professionals (https://www.bcsp.org/) for safety credential opportunities.
Alternative Healthcare Careers also has 3 different ergonomic certifications - an office, telehealth and industrial certification that are on demand, lifetime access and also include a job and business section so that whether you want to find a your dream role or start an ergo side hustle- you are fully prepared. You can learn more here: https://www.alternativehealthcarecareers.com/ergonomics
What is a day in the life like for you as a Safety Management Consultant?
My current title is Safety Management Consultant and I assess where our policy holder’s worker comp claims are coming from and support the organization’s leadership in identifying ways to reduce workplace injuries.
A lot of emphasis is on ergonomic issues which rehab professionals are more than qualified to do.
I technically work from home but cover a large territory that I may have to travel 2 hours one way to meet with our clients. Because of the flexibility though, I have been able to schedule my day to help get my kids on and off the bus which is a huge bonus!
I am salaried and my pay increased about 25% for this role. The company I work for is relatively flat but when I look at the world of safety, there are so many more career opportunities that I felt I did not have in healthcare.
What is your biggest tip for someone wanting to get into ergonomics/injury prevention/safety management?
My biggest tip for anyone reading this blog…DON’T STOP LOOKING, DON’T STOP TRYING. It took me 3 years of searching, applying, and interviewing to land this role. At times I felt defeated, but I knew I had to keep moving forward. If readers are truly interested in the world of safety, I would encourage them to investigate ergonomics certifications, OSHA classes, and the sites I listed above. I would also recommend seeing if your organization has a Safety Committee and/or Safe Patient Handling Committee and get involved.
I absolutely love what I do and have zero regrets about leaving patient care!
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