“I needed to change my career before my career killed me” 

Madrid / 16 April 2020

Our hero for April is Rusty Cerniuk, a site manager in Missouri, USA, who provides us insight into the safety issues he experienced at his previous job, offshore drilling for an energy company in the USA. What Rusty experienced there made him leave the oil and gas industry and join Siemens Gamesa instead.
Internal Communications Specialist
Rusty started off his career as a rigger, or the person responsible for attaching pieces of heavy machinery, connecting the parts together and anchoring pieces to fixed structures with bolts and clamps. “In my old job, I  saw people getting hurt every day, from cuts and bruises to losing fingers. There were even two people who lost their lives on the rig I was assigned to,” Rusty explains. 

His decision to leave the oil and gas industry came after a dramatic incident involving the loading of a box weighing around five tons to a boat during a heavy storm. For this load, Rusty was only supported by an inexperienced colleague.  

“When the box was almost on the deck, my partner slipped and was very close to getting crushed by the load. I called the operator on the radio, trying to direct the load away from my partner. The operator did not hear me, and I got pinned against the boat rail with this box slowly crushing me – I honestly thought that I was going to die,” he describes.
Rusty Cerniuk is site manager in Missouri, USA

Rusty continues: “As I was pinned, I could not reach my radio. Luckily, the captain on the boat saw what was happening and moved the boat out from under the load. The result for me was a couple of broken ribs and a badly bruised body.”

That was the last straw. After witnessing a long string of incidents that resulted in many people getting hurt, Rusty decided to accept the advice of a friend working in the wind industry. “I came to the conclusion that enough was enough – and that I needed to change my career before my career killed me,” Rusty recalls. 

After working more than a decade for Siemens Gamesa, Rusty recognizes that “a lot has changed over the years” when it comes to safety. “I can honestly say that Siemens Gamesa does everything and anything they can to keep all employees and contractors safe,” he affirms.

As a site manager, Rusty oversees all aspects involved in the installation of a wind turbine, step by step. “With every task, we review the safety and quality aspects of it. If there is anything about the procedure that is not safe, we shut it down and make new plans,” he adds. In addition, he schedules a meeting every morning with his team and asks his colleagues to share at least one safety topic. “No manager has ever denied cost for anything safety related. If we can’t make it safe, we don’t do it.” 

“The Siemens Gamesa team believes in identifying safety concerns and hazards – not to get out of doing a task, but because everyone deserves to go home to their family at the end of the day.”

Everyone must play their part regarding safety; following the policies and guidelines in every step of our projects and work. “Everyone needs to buy into safety,” our hero concludes. 

Siemens Gamesa asks everyone to make safety their choice at work as well as in our personal lives. Perhaps now more than ever, as we – due to the Covid-19 crisis – are all becoming even more aware that health is our most precious asset.

A hero doesn’t need to wear a cape or have superpowers. Siemens Gamesa is full of unnamed heroes, like Rusty, who go that extra mile every day to keep us safe. Let’s get to know them! Look around you and nominate those colleagues making a positive impact every day in the “Powered by Heroes” Yammer group.


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