GLADSTONE, Mich. (WLUC) - Mark Cousineau, Industrial Arts instructor at Gladstone area High school makes safety in his woodshop priority number one.
"We can't be in a hurry. We don't rush around here. When you hurry you make mistakes and when you make mistakes you get hurt. So I discourage rushing," Cousineau remarked.
A big part of his job is to impart safe habits onto his high school wood shop students so they can be better prepared to enter the workforce.
“Common sense has to prevail. That’s the biggest thing with safety is you just think it through before you do something," Cousineau reasoned.
That's why he and Assistant Principal, Andrew Jacques asked safety administrators at Verso to team up with Gladstone High to offer safety incentives and prizes to his students. They’re also tracking unsafe behaviors and accidents.
Verso Safety & Security Manager, Pam Lauscher has 19 years’ experience at the Escanaba Mill.
"Spending the time with the students is a great opportunity for us. It gives us a time to share some of our knowledge as safety professionals to a younger generation," Lauscher declared.
Lauscher and several of her colleagues spent the day giving a safety presentation to these students. Lauscher says their lessons not only transfer easily to the workplace but into the home and day to day life.
"It's important that you protect yourself from all the hazards that you come into contact with during the day, whether it’s in a woodworking shop like this or out on the road driving a vehicle to and from school or at work," Lauscher announced.
Lauscher added that safety routines like always wearing personal protection equipment are important habits to start early. To make that easier, Verso donated hundreds of safety glasses and ear plugs to the wood shop class and to other local schools.
However as like Senior, Cole Alworden are learning, important safety habits don’t stop there.
"Do you research, follow directions, make sure you put safety first. Make sure your sweatshirt strings are in and you don't have long sleeves hanging and have earbuds in with wires hanging out," Alworden concluded.