When you know you’re making a difference, it’s much easier to be passionate about your work. For Thom Kramer, his passion for fall protection was solidified on the Friday before Memorial Day in 1998. That day, he received a call saying that a horizontal lifeline he helped design saved a worker’s life.
The circumstances surrounding the accident would have led to certain death—a worker falling head first toward a concrete slab 20 feet below. Fortunately, the worker and his organization had a robust fall protection program in place, and the worker walked away completely unharmed.
Almost 20 years later, Thom remains motivated to improve safety for workers at height.
“I continue to see alarming statistics about falls, and so many of these accidents are preventable,” Kramer said. “I know that my work can impact a person, a family and an organization, so I press on.”
As a dually registered professional engineer and certified safety professional, Kramer has spent the majority of his career consulting with clients to reduce risk for workers at heights through training, program development, risk assessment and design of fall protection systems.
For his consistent efforts to improve fall safety, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) recently honored Kramer as the 2016 Edgar Monsanto Queeny Safety Professional of the Year. He will formally receive his award during ASSE’s Safety 2016, which runs June 27-29, 2016 in Atlanta.
Kramer has been honored largely for his leadership in helping develop more than 18 fall protection standards through the ANSI Z359 committee, of which he is now Vice Chair. These standards are credited with stopping fatalities that result from fall from heights. Kramer also is active with two other ANSI committees that focus on Prevention through Design guidelines and confined space standards.
“I understand how complex safety issues can be, and I sympathize with organizations trying to navigate their unique challenges,” Kramer said. “My work on the ANSI committees helps me impact more than just my own clients—these standards provide detailed guidance for implementing best practices.”
Kramer is widely considered as a thought leader in the fall protection industry, having given more than 100 technical sessions and workshops on the topic. He also serves as the president of the International Society for Fall Protection.