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My Job: Ben Fausett

The safety training officer on driving golf carts, lifting boxes, and using common sense.
People  |  Jul 28, 2014  |  By Paige Frank
UNLV safety training officer Ben Fausett conducts a training seminar. (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Photo Services)

The campus safety expert has a minor confession to make. Sometimes, at home, he climbs on a chair instead of a ladder to hang a picture. But you can bet his five kids always wear a helmet to ride a bicycle.

Fausett, UNLV's safety training officer, designs and leads courses that, among others, teach students and employees how to protect their backs and hearing, avoid slips and falls, and climb a ladder without falling.

Fausett began working at UNLV in 2000, and has been in his current position with the risk management and safety department since 2006.

What's your job, in a nutshell?

I organize and develop courses for staff and students on campus according to regulatory requirements. Training is delivered in the classroom and through customized online courses. Each course is homegrown, meaning that I created the courses, the content, and the quizzes. In hands-on training, participants can practice what they've been taught. For example, with fire extinguisher training, students may practice using a fire extinguisher by putting out a fire in a controlled environment. A total of 9,560 employees and students completed a safety training class in 2013.

What's a common safety error?

Golf carts are a primary mode of transportation on campus. We have a huge pedestrian population. You just can't barrel through a place. You have to move slowly. We get a lot of complaints about overloaded carts and a lot of people talk on phones in carts.

What are your top three safety tips?

Use basic common sense, be aware of your surroundings, and don't be afraid to go through some of the training programs we offer.

What would make your workday perfect?

Delivering a flawless training class with complete participation. Some classes get pretty close.

What's the biggest misconception about your job?

Some people think that we're the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and have memorized every safety regulation. We are definitely not OSHA, but we make sure we remain compliant. So if OSHA does come on campus, we are prepared to meet them. In addition, the regulations are just too tedious to memorize. In many cases, we learn together as new challenges arise.

What's the quirkiest tool of your trade?

This may not be the quirkiest tool, but I use quite a few different software programs to organize, manage and develop training classes. It's not just PowerPoint and videos anymore.

What's your best piece of advice for students?

Take time to relieve the stress that comes from college life. It's OK to have some down time, but know when it's time to get back to work.

How can others on campus make your job easier?

Complete training when contacted. Fortunately, the majority of campus helps out with this, which allows me to develop better courses.

What's the most rewarding moment in your life?

My most rewarding moments have to do with my family, which includes my wife of 17 years and our five children. I put them first and cherish the moments I spend with them. Each small accomplishment or achievement adds to that rewarding experience.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I love school. I've earned a bachelor's in zoology and two masters, one in architecture and one in business administration. One day, I'd love to earn a doctorate in business, if I can convince my wife.

Who do you want to thank for the job they do on campus?

I love UNLV, and I believe we have a great campus, so each member of the campus community adds to that. The maintenance, grounds, and custodial staffs at UNLV do a great job making our campus beautiful in the middle of the desert.

If you were given a $1 million grant to make a campus improvement, start a new program, or improve one we already have, where would you put that money?

I would divide the money among various research projects on campus, which I believe would raise UNLV's profile as a respected educational institution.