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In 2022, IPAF President Karin Nars launched the 'Women in Powered Access' initiative, inviting women of all ages and different professional roles to share their stories of inclusivity. The initiative includes a number of key actions, including providing a platform to tell the stories of women in powered access in both the media and at industry events. IPAF will also use its own print, web and social media platforms to share these inspirational case studies and will also continue to invite prominent women speakers to present at IPAF events. IPAF will share a series of case studies at www.ipaf.org/casestudy to communicate the opportunities our industry offers women.
What is your role in powered access? My role is Safety Health Environment and Quality (SHEQ) and Training Manager. In addition to developing a strong safety culture, my role includes bringing about continuous improvement in all our SHEQ functions including SHEQ related to MEWP activities, both in our depots and when they are out on hire.
How did you come into this industry and what attracted you to it? I started my career as a production team leader; I used to take care of safety in my area. During this period, I demonstrated my commitment to safety by incorporating protocols and procedures into my daily work routines. After two years in production, I decided to switch to the health & safety department. As a safety engineer, the most exciting part of my role is understanding how production, construction and maintenance processes work and how safety protocols and practice can be incorporated without sacrificing efficiency.
What do you find inspiring about your role? I can change people’s lives for the better. By using the best practices at my disposal – stand-up learning sessions, risk assessments, safety walks and health & safety reviews – I can eliminate and mitigate health & safety risks. My responsibilities include designing and implementing safety protocols, applying SHEQ good practices and training team members on recognised health & safety culture and procedure. I find conducting regular SHEQ performance reviews rewarding, especially when we develop and apply action plans that improve the review results for the organisation. Our organisation specialises in rental, sales and training for MEWPs and so I am also undergoing training to become an IPAF Instructor. This training has already provided me with skills and knowledge to ensure we understand the safe practice related to MEWPs, and it is also empowering me to ensure our MEWP fleet continues to be the safest way to work at height.
Where do you see yourself in five years, and what do you want to achieve? Being an influencer in my industry and playing an active role in developing strong health & safety cultures. I will always help ensure workers in my industry are properly trained. I want to grow strong relationships with customers and industry partners to understand their safety needs and collaborate on developing health & safety solutions that meet their demands.
What one piece of advice would you give to other women in/thinking of entering the industry? Women can be just as successful and impactful in our industry as men – by building skills and knowledge, networking with others in the field, and staying committed to our goals. “I change people’s lives for the better; by using the best practices at my disposal, I mitigate and eliminate health.