The WorkSAFE Podcast: Memorable Moments from 100 Episodes of Expertise

February 1, 2023 • Missouri Employers Mutual

The WorkSAFE Podcast began in 2017 as a way to spread workplace safety and workers compensation information to a broad audience. We’ve evolved over the years: new topics, new guests and new hosts. Now, nearly six years later, we’re celebrating our newest – and a very special – milestone: our 100th podcast episode.

On this episode of the WorkSAFE Podcast, our host Heather Carl is joined by Alan Combs. Not only is Combs the Marketing Content Strategist at Missouri Employers Mutual, but he has produced all 1oo episodes of the podcast. He manages the recording process, researches emerging topics and invites subject matter experts to share their expertise.

During this special anniversary podcast, we’ll share our top five episodes. Stay tuned until the end, where Combs and Carl share a list of hidden gems – episodes packed with insight and information that you don’t want to miss.

Listen to this episode of the WorkSAFE Podcast or read the show notes below. 

Restaurants and COVID-19: The most downloaded WorkSAFE episode

Whether we realize it or not, food is at the heart of many of our relationships. We eat together as families, friends, and coworkers. So it’s no surprise that when COVID-19 closed the doors of many local eateries, and affected the operations of others, we all felt the impact.

“We were in the middle of the pandemic with all these different things going on, and it was pretty clear that restaurants were beginning to struggle,” Combs explained. Customers couldn’t eat inside. Staffing was difficult. Everything from soap to ketchup to rubber gloves were in short supply. In our most-downloaded episode, guests Herman Styles and Ben Thies, shared how restaurants were accommodating customers – and new regulations – in the midst of a global pandemic.

Medical marijuana: The WorkSAFE episode that was right on time

Although medical marijuana goes by many names, one buzzword stood out to Missouri residents in 2018: passed. They voted to pass a ballot legalizing medical-only use – which sparked concerns for employers statewide. How would this impact their workplaces? Could they still enforce their safety policies? Just a few weeks after the legalization, we released our first marijuana episode with Larry Lambert, Associate General Counsel at Missouri Employers Mutual.

Since then, we’ve released several episodes that cover the development of marijuana use and legislation, including:

Every business is unique. Further, every industry will face different challenges regarding marijuana use. “It’s clear that employers still have some of the same questions they did in the beginning, and then obviously new concerns about the topic and how to navigate that,” Carl commented. “What we strive to provide with our discussions on this was really more of kind of a framework to understand the law.” Discussing these time-sensitive developments is key to preparing employers and their workplaces for coming changes.

Sitting is the new smoking: The WorkSAFE episode that gets you on your feet

In today’s world, the health risks of sitting rival that of smoking. If you work behind a screen, sitting for hours may simply be a reality. Everything from meals to phone calls – and even breaks – take place from an office chair.

The COVID-19 pandemic pinned many people to their desks. Combs was no exception. “I found that while I was in the office, it was easy to get up and move around. But when I got home, I could look down and I’ve spent the last four hours in my chair,” he explained. How could he add more movement to his day?

Dr. Stefan Zavalin had the answers. As a physical therapy professional, he shared with podcast listeners the impact of extended sitting – and why more exercise surprisingly isn’t the solution. The simple movements Dr. Zavalin discussed encourages listeners to get on their feet with their health in mind.

Situational awareness: The WorkSAFE episode that gets your attention

What does it mean to be situationally aware? Watching for hot pots and pans in a busy kitchen? Checking both ways before getting out of a vehicle parked on the street? To many people’s surprise, being situationally aware is about more than just paying attention. “I think that’s a term that gets thrown around, and that not a lot of people really have a defined meaning for it,” Combs explained. He’d heard people use the phrase before. However, for this episode, he sought out someone who could share what it really means.

Podcast guest Dr. Richard Gasaway, founder of Situational Awareness Matters!™, focused on three key elements employees need to be able to process new situations: perceive, understand, predict. He also shared a surprising truth during this episode: employees can be trained to be situationally aware.

This episode bursts at the seams with helpful insight. For Combs, it’s one that is full of practical applications. “It’s definitely a podcast that I’ll probably have to go back and listen to again,” he added.  “We all get in the habit of just going about our business, and maybe could learn a few things from that could keep us safe along the way.” 

Ergonomics: The WorkSAFE episode that keeps you safe at home

Although nearly half of all U.S. companies offered remote work prior to COVID-19, the pandemic was the first time many employees had ever worked from home. There, they encountered new hazards: wayward pet toys, tangled computer cords, and makeshift work stations crafted from stacked books and kitchen chairs.

Combs recognized that these new work environments were uncharted territory for many employers. “There’s got to be something that we can do to help businesses as they as they are sending people to work in different environments,” he said, explaining how the concept came to fruition. “How can they still keep those people safe?”

In this episode, we sat down with MEM’s Safety & Risk Services Operations Manager, Doug Davis, to understand the impact of transitioning the office from the workplace to home.

The WorkSAFE Podcast: A partnership with out listeners

The WorkSAFE Podcast covers more than a dozen topics every year. We focus on providing listeners with the workplace strategies and workers compensation information they need to be safe and successful. However, our listeners play a key role in our success. Support us by:

  1. Connecting with us. Share the topics you’d like to hear on the WorkSAFE Podcast by emailing us directly at
  2. Following us. Subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast platform.
  3. Subscribe to our monthly safety newsletter. The Safety Buzz is an easy to way to stay up-to-date on the latest safety information in a quick and easy-to-read format.
February 1, 2023
Missouri Employers Mutual
Share this article