As we kick off 2022, Lynda DiMenna, formerly president of New York American Water, enters the new year as American Water’s new Chief Environmental and Safety Officer.
With a career in water utilities spanning more than two decades, Lynda brings a breadth of knowledge and experience to the position, of which she is the first at American Water to hold. To get to know a little bit more about her and this new executive role, we sat down with Lynda to discuss one of the most important topics at American Water: Safety.
You are American Water’s first Chief Environmental & Safety Officer. What can you tell us about your plans for the position?
In my role, I will drive our focus on environmental stewardship and make critical safety improvements to keep American Water on track to achieve zero incidents and injuries. With expertise in environmental leadership, I will work to strengthen our commitment to building a culture that makes tangible progress on water quality, water management, system resiliency, as well as other environmental, social, and governance issues.
Tell us a little bit about the impact of the team that you lead.
My team provides critical support for the business and the States we operate in by helping ensure that policies, laws, rules and regulations are embedded into the business and that they all understand we have a key role to play in providing critical services to our customers. With the support and guidance from my team, we are able to better align the vision and strategy for American Water Safety and Environmental stewardship.
How does American Water work to protect employees?
There are a few parts to that answer. First, we implement engineering solutions in our facilities to allow our employees to work safely every day, and also make sure the proper PPE and tools are being utilized and distributed to our team members. By identifying hazards, assessing risks and implementing controls to minimize those risks, we make our workspace safer for our employees every day. But in the end, one of the most important things is empowering employees to trust their gut. At American Water, we tell every employee that they have the power to stop a job if it looks or feels unsafe. By empowering our team members to look for hazards before they become an incident and to raise their hand if they need help, we assist the business in staying a safe and zero-injury workplace.
What does safety mean at American Water?
Safety is one of our core values and the shared focus is something that all employees have in common. Our goal is zero accidents and injuries, and the premise is simple: safety at American Water will not be compromised for speed, customer convenience or profit. Safety must always be in focus because, if it’s not, there is a potential that one of our employees would be injured or hurt at work. We are always working to help make sure that our employees go home safely to their families at the end of each day.
What are you focused on in 2022?
We will be focusing on a culture of safety and helping make sure all employees are embracing our values and their mental and physical well-being. Safety is a choice we all make every day, and if we choose to work safely, we can achieve zero injuries. An additional area of focus will be analyzing our leading indicators to help prevent injuries from occurring.
We are excited to see what she and the safety team will bring to the table as we all march forward on our mission to keep life flowing.