“It’s humbling,” Mary Betsch, leader of Ingersoll Rand’s Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) team, said, “to realize that people’s lives depend on my influence.”
And it’s true. Our dedicated EHS team was formed when legacy Gardner Denver and legacy Ingersoll Rand came together in early 2020. In the early days of the COVID 19 pandemic, they performed like seasoned champs. The team implemented strategies and actions to safeguard IR employees’ well-being in the face of almost unprecedented health threats. We appreciate both their impactful approach to the COVID crisis and the team’s many other significant achievements during their first year together.
In this month’s spotlight, we learn more about Mary Betsch, global EHS director and leader of this talented team. Mary joined the company in 2005 and has over 30 years of experience in EHS leadership. Here, she speaks about her career in EHS, the role of safety at Ingersoll Rand and the future of EHS.
What drew you to a career in EHS?
I fell in love with the thought of protecting people and the environment by creating sustainable solutions to make a better, safer world. It started early on when I was working at a local county office and volunteered to write a grant for their hazardous waste and recycling programs and it resulted in receiving money to launch a small business educational program. I later wrote another grant to educate children on recycling and developed a program for the schools in the area. I was hooked!
What keeps you in this field?
A quote I live by is “People’s lives depend on my influence.” I really enjoy coaching and teaching others in EHS. There is nothing more challenging and satisfying than what I do every day to protect our people and the planet.
After our companies (Gardner Denver and Ingersoll Rand) integrated in early 2020, what did it take to get the united EHS teams where we are today?
At integration, both companies were on the path of continuous EHS improvement and wanted to achieve world-class EHS performance. When the companies merged, we began building relationships to learn everyone’s expertise so we would know who to lean on when needed.
EHS is complex. We have leaders with specialties in fall protection, electrical safety, waste management and the like. I’m truly amazed by our EHS talent and the effort of our EHS leaders around the world. We depend on them to keep our people and communities safe. Today, I’m proud we are one business and one team.
What has been the role of EHS in our company’s COVID-19 responsiveness?
As we were beginning our integration efforts, we met frequently to develop our COVID Management program, explore protective apparel and equipment and implement both a rigorous tracking plan and a schedule to monitor employee health on a global scale.
Influenced by the gravity of COVID, we embarked together on a new EHS capability none of us were prepared for. It was a huge challenge, but our world-wide EHS professionals rose to the occasion—and continue to be instrumental in local return-to-work plans and vaccine administration.
Safety is a priority for Ingersoll Rand. How are we doing?
Phenomenal! Thanks to the efforts of our safety-conscious employees worldwide, our 2020 company safety is better than our combined 2019 performance for TRIR (total recordable-incident rate) and flat for LTIR (lost-time incident rate). The company overall, reduced the recordable rate by 26% attaining world-class standards! This is remarkable, considering the merging of two companies amidst a pandemic crisis.
What is the role of EHS going forward?
It’s great to see our EHS team come together and create global solutions. Ultimately, EHS strives to ensure our valuable people perform work safely so they can go home at the end of the day the way they arrived. As such, the goal of our ongoing EHS Council is education, focus and improvement to continue our strong and sustainable culture.
We are so appreciative of the efforts of Mary Betsch and the EHS team for helping Ingersoll Rand weather one of the most serious health crises of our time. We look forward to learning about their further innovations as they work to protect IR’s global family, allowing us to remain on-task and value-forward.