I am mission success: Matthew Hensley
Matthew Hensley followed in his mother’s footsteps and completed his electrical apprenticeship at Y-12. Now, he leads the electrical safety efforts at Y-12.
Take 5 minutes and learn about CNS's Matthew Hensley, Safety and Industrial Hygiene Electrical Safety. All views and opinions are the employee’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of CNS.
With more than 12 years of experience at Y-12, Matthew Hensley has a passion to ensure his fellow Y-12ers stay safe. He recently began his newest position as the Y-12 Electrical Safety subject matter expert in April 2022, where he will also serve as the chair of the Y-12 Electrical Safety Committee. His goal is to create a safer work environment.
Hensley was hired at Y-12 in 2009. His journey in electrical work began in 2010. He completed his electrical apprenticeship in 2015 and became a journeyman electrician for 3 years. He then received his master’s degree in safety, security, and emergency management from Eastern Kentucky University in 2018. He served in Infrastructure Maintenance as a planner from 2018–2021, and then as a planning supervisor from March 2021–March 2022. Hensley’s experiences have paved the way for him to lead electrical safety efforts at Y-12.
Are you doing what you envisioned as a young adult? If so, describe how you got here.
I would honestly have to say I never envisioned myself doing what I do. I followed in my mother’s footsteps in completing my electrical apprenticeship at Y-12 (she was the first woman to graduate from the electrical apprenticeship at Y-12). I then decided to continue my education by pursuing a master’s degree in Safety. Through my education and experience, I was able to apply for and accept the position of Electrical Safety SME.
What is your favorite aspect about your work environment? How does that aspect make you know the mission is being met?
My favorite aspect of my work environment is the questioning attitude that the workers have. They are always trying to get the work done, and are wanting to find the best way to get the work done safely. They contact me to either make sure their plan is safe, or to get my opinion on how to perform the task safely.
What CNS principle drives you to be successful?
I believe “know before you do” is the principle that drives me, especially when working in Electrical Safety. You have to know the hazards that are going to be encountered when performing a task in order to know how to best protect yourself and others.
What one thing would your coworkers be surprised to know about you?
For those who do not know me well, I believe they would be surprised to know that I have nine adopted children, eight of which still reside in the home. Six adoptions through foster care, and three through private adoption.
What’s your top bucket list item and why?
I would love to see a baseball game in every major league baseball stadium. I love baseball, and it is something that I have always wanted to do.
Finally, for our readers at home, what are the most important safety tips they should know about electrical safety?
Extension cord safety can affect us in the home. Some tips to follow for extension cord safety at home are:
- Never plug an extension cord into another extension cord (daisy chaining).
- Ensure extension cords are properly rated for their intended use (indoor or outdoor).
- Never cut off the ground pin of a grounding-type extension cord.
- Always use ground fault circuit interrupters when using an extension cord outdoors.
- Inspect cords for damage before use for cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections.
Another important issue, especially for me as a parent, is properly childproofing your home. Here are a few tips:
- Install tamper resistant receptacles where possible, and safety covers where it is not.
- Teach kids to never put foreign objects or fingers into electrical outlets.
- Unplug and store electrical appliances that aren’t in use out of reach.
- Move lamps and appliances that are in use away from the table or counter’s edge.
- Try to position electrical cords out of sight or behind furniture where possible.