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Val – Health & Safety Construction Inspector

What made you interested into getting into your field? 

With a health and safety degree, I applied to my first job not knowing that I would be working in the construction field. This was 18 years ago. As a woman in construction,I faced many barriers over the years and have overcome these obstacles. I love my job and I love working in construction.

What do you love about your field?

I love the human aspect of my job; meeting different people everyday. In order to be successful and encourage workers to follow safety protocols and build relationships with the workers. I also enjoy learning about the work the different trades perform and what it takes to build a house, a high-rise building and a commercial space. Another major aspect of my job is to facilitate training sessions to workers. I really enjoy encouraging workers to follow safety legislation so that they can go home at the end of the day. No one should go to work to get hurt. Most of my days, I am outdoors walking job sites and encouraging workers to get on board with health and safety. What could be better?

What types of challenges have you faced as a women and how have you overcome them?

More and more women today are entering into the field of construction. 18 years ago it was very uncommon to see a woman on a job site. When I first started most workers would ignore me when I spoke to them. At meetings and training sessions, I was often heckled from the back of the room. On a few occasions, I was sworn at and intimidated, but the majority of my experiences we’re positive. I didn’t let those rough times stop me from getting up every morning and going to this job sites and completing my work tasks. As a safety professional, I’m very passionate about the safety of workers and I have tried and continue to look for ways to encourage workers to follow safety legislation.

Is there any advice you would give to women entering the field?

The number of women entering into the construction field increases year by year. It is not uncommon to see a woman on almost every job site today. The more women that enter into the industry every year is an example to the next woman, and I find this to be so empowering. Further, there is so much support out there for women in construction from groups such as Woman In Steel Toes. We are part of a family!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I am currently involved on a campaign called “Speak Up For Safety”. Speak up for safety is about asking questions at work in order to reduce unnecessary accidents. Speak up for safety gives workers a voice, where asking questions and saying no to unsafe work is not a popular practice in construction. Speak up for safety can mean so many things depending on each individual worker. My speak up for safety story has been my experience as a woman working in construction and how I overcame barriers. If changes can be made with speak up for safety, then anything is possible.

#constructionworker #construction #healthandsafety #womeninsteeltoes #womeninconstruction #womeninleadershiproles #safety

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