Safety Star of the 4th Quarter 2023

Julie Smith

E & J Gallo Winery (Spirits Plant)
Operations Assistant
Modesto, CA

How did you get involved in safety?

I was working as the Spirits plant admin and was asked to attend a BBS Safety Committee meeting as a scribe. I enjoyed my participation and learning about safety through the committee and that my role has expanded. As the site prepared for VPP STAR certification , I was involved in the process and became a safety program owner. Additionally, I also worked on receiving my CSMS safety certification through the Sacramento Safety center in 2020.

What is your most recent safety related work accomplishment or something you’re proud of?

My most recent safety accomplishment is STAR re-certification. But I am most proud of my role as a BBS management sponsor, Over the last 3 years I helped manage the committee and remain sustainable even during COVID and a change in schedule as the business transitioned into a 24/7 operation. With some ingenuity, we found ways to meet while keeping everyone safe and active participants.

What has been your favorite aspect of the VPPPA/how has your company benefitted from VPPPA membership?

The VPPPA involvement at our site has been great. I believe we have a strong safety culture in large part because most if not all employees get to participate at all levels. The safety culture at our site is similar to the family environment which leads to our success.

What is one of the biggest challenges you and/or your company currently face when it comes to safety at the workplace?

There are a few challenges that our site faces, but the one I am helping to work on is communication and consistency. Across the seven shifts, information is not shared consistently; some leaders excel at it, while others struggle to find the time to share information. I am working to improve this by finding alternative communication methods, such as using voice-over PowerPoint presentations, requesting sign-offs once information has been shared, or even as something as simple as posting PowerPoint slides on our communication boards.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a career in safety?

The advice I would give others is that although safety is not something thought of, it is a rewarding experience when involved. You meet and collaborate with a lot of people from all industries. When meeting others it allows for sharing safety information and also learning from others about their work / experiences.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

I enjoy spending time with my family and traveling.