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Certified Mine Safety Professional

Professional Profiles

Read more about current Certified Mine Safety Professionals and how receiving this credential took their mine safety career to the next step.

 

Michael J. Wegleitner

Corporate Director, Health and Safety
Hecla Mining Company

What is your role in mine safety and health, and how long have you been involved in this arena?

I am the Corporate Director of Health & Safety with the Hecla Mining Company, with U.S. and international responsibility for Hecla’s health and safety management systems. I have 38 years of mining, construction and energy industry experience, which includes health, safety, environment, security, operations, procurement and inventory control experience.

 

 

 

What excites you about mine safety and health? What personal achievements in mine safety and health have made you proud?

I enjoy helping others succeed. I enjoy having opportunities each day to make a difference regarding the health and safety of individuals, and to ensure they return home safely each day. I am most proud of drastically reducing risk and lowering the number of employee injuries for every company that I have worked for, on a consistent basis. This has allowed employees to return home each day without injury. I am also proud that I obtained my CMSP certification.

 

What made you decide to pursue the CMSP credential?

I decided to pursue the CMSP certification because it gave credibility to me as a health and safety professional, and the certification ensures I am knowledgeable in all aspects of health and safety within the mining industry.

 

How do you think the CMSP credential is important for: The industry? Employers? Certificants? Communities around mining sites and/or communities in general?

The CMSP credential is important to industry, employers, certificants and communities because each of them benefit from an individual who is very knowledgeable in all aspects of health and safety practices and systems.

 

Many studies show that certified individuals tend to outperform non-certified individuals – do you agree with this in terms of mine safety and health?

Yes, I agree with this statement. An individual who holds the CMSP certification has taken an oath to serve and protect others from harm and to abide by good ethics at all times. Given the abovementioned, they are apt to be high performers and are driven to be successful.

 

Certifications are tied to objective demonstrations of competence. Does your company actively promote a culture of competence?

Yes, my company expects individuals to seek and obtain certifications in their discipline that ensures they are competent. Within our company safety and health management system, there is a module for competence.

 

What does it say about a mining operation when “CMSP preferred” is included in job listings? Does the CMSP credential assist with job security and mobility? What opportunities exist for CMSPs that aren’t so easily open to non-credential holders?

It shows the company understands and is knowledgeable regarding health and safety and places a high priority on safety. The company knows the value a CMSP certified employee will bring to the company. Having the credential of a CMSP leads to a more secure position within a company, yet also makes the individual more mobile as it will give the individual more opportunities within the health and safety position compared to an individual who does not have the certification. The certification of the CMSP opens the door for selective assignments, promotions, pay advancements and more job opportunities.

 

What do you hope the future holds for yourself and for mine safety and health?

I hope the future of health and safety continues to grow with new advancements in technology, and injury rates continue to lower. For me, I hope I continue to gain health and safety knowledge that I can transfer to my company and all employees to ensure their health and safety.

 

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this field?

To be patient and listen, and observe everyone for their health and safety practices. To follow your gut instinct when it comes to health and safety. Begin molding your health and safety morals and ethics by attaching yourself to those who hold health and safety in high regard. Plan out your health and safety career path with the intent of obtaining the CMSP certification. If you do this, you have the opportunity to become the best health and safety professional you could be.

 

What is the best way to prepare for the CMSP exam?

Years before taking the CMSP examination, begin preparing yourself by gaining all the knowledge you can regarding safety in general, not just mining. Review the CMSP certification body of knowledge material and attend one of the CMSP prep courses. Surround yourself and network with others who have CMSP certifications and tap into their health and safety knowledge and experience.

 


 

Kimberly Walster

Behavior Based Safety & Training Specialist
Prairie State Generating Company

What is your role in mine safety and health, and how long have you been in this arena?

I lead the CORESafety efforts at our mine, which included developing our Health & Safety Management System along with implementing and training on the 20 modules. For the last 11 years I have worked at an underground coal mine in southern Illinois.

 

 

 

What excites you about mine safety and health? What personal achievements in mine safety and health have made you proud?

What excites me about mine safety and health are the technology advancements that we have in our industry. In just the last decade we have seen advancements in wi-fi capabilities underground, tracking, thermo-imaging, communication and training. I am personally proud to see miners embracing the ever-changing technology. Furthermore, they are finding new ways to incorporate it into their daily routine of safely producing coal.

 

What made you decide to pursue the CMSP credential?

I pursued the CMSP certification because I felt it added value to my other training and certifications. Being a CMSP benefits our safety initiatives at our mine with continuing-education units though SME. During the prep course, it was great to learn alongside others working in the mining industry.

 

Why do you think the CMSP credential is important?

The CMSP is a great credential to add to your resume that encourages continuous improvement and education. If you are looking for a personal development goal the CMSP is a great choice. Other safety credentials do not reflect the mining designation, which I feel is important to achieve if working in mining. Of course, all safety certifications and training will benefit your safety efforts, the CMSP designation sets you apart. The Department of Labor recognized the need for a separate division for mining, so it seems important that we embrace the need and importance for individual safety designation for mining too.

 

Does it make a difference if a mining operation includes “CMSP preferred” in job listings?

If a mining operation has “CMSP Preferred” in a job listing, I feel it speaks volumes to the safety culture of that organization. There is a difference in how a company thinks and behaves when safety is a value. At Prairie State, our chief executive officer believes that “Safety is the responsibility of every person, at every level, every day.”

 

What do you hope the future holds for yourself and for mine safety and health?

I hope the future holds positive changes and partnerships among every type of mining operation. I am equally impressed and excited by advancements in mining technology. There will always be unique challenges, including regulatory responsibilities and changes in mining conditions, so I hope companies see the benefit that comes with CMSP designation and use it as a recruiting tool for top industry talent.

 

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this field?

Network, network, network! I feel that becoming a CMSP has led to wonderful opportunities within both the SME and our industry. There are so many who are passionate about safety and willing to share their knowledge, ideas, trials and tribulations. Reach out and partner with subject-matter experts working at the mines, regulators, educators, researchers and innovators at NIOSH. I have only had positive experiences when it comes to discussing mine safety and health.

 

Any tips or advice for the CMSP exam?

I was part of the inaugural prep course with the SME and felt it was beneficial, since my mining experience was exclusively in underground coal. It was a great overview and refresher prior to taking the exam. My employer supported the CMSP credential because of their belief that an outstanding safety culture is the key to getting the workforce aligned, engaged and achieving outstanding results so that you can become “best in class.”