“I use a bit of humour to engage people, I’m not the typical safety person with the clipboard. I have a more candid approach. I’m diplomatic but also transparent and honest.”
I was drawn to Toll largely due to the location, but also their reputation as a flexible workplace. I have 30 years’ experience in heavy industry, and while I’ve gained a lot of knowledge in that time, I value flexibility as it means I can fit things into my own schedule. That’s only possible when you find a role where things are not based on time-critical start times and Toll enables me to do that. Much of what I do is covered by phone or video conference with some travel required. While my location is in New South Wales, my boss is in Brisbane and the relationship is excellent. There’s no micro-management or need for constant permission. The trust goes both ways.
Toll is a very diverse company, but inclusive. I am a member of the Toll Indigenous Employee Network (TIEN) group. My heritage is Torres Straight Islander. My grandfather was taken from the islands and raised in Botany Bay by a white family without any exposure to tradition. He was a professional fisherman and I’ve grown up on the water, so the love of the ocean is in our blood. As part of the network we hold meetings quarterly, and also have celebrations around NAIDOC week. I’ve wanted to discover a lot more about my background, and really enjoyed connecting with a colleague with Torres Strait Islander heritage, hearing about the elders and traditional island life.
The bulk of what I do is focused in the Dangerous Goods space. In recent weeks I’ve investigated an incident at a customer site, carried out a cyanide handling audit and we were also audited by one of our customers around the handling of Ammonium Nitrate which is a very volatile substance. It’s important work, but I really enjoy it, particularly the level of variety. You’re also playing a vital role in raising awareness around Dangerous Goods and dispelling some of the myths on the ground. For everyone on sites, it’s important they have the correct information so they can operate safely. I’m also heavily involved in running life-like Emergency Response Drills. These provide our people and customers with the training they need to close any gaps during the exercises, and I’m there to spot any issues. Your aim is not only improvement, but to continuously improve. It’s something I’m very passionate about. The more people know the better everyone is.
You interact with a lot of people in what I do. Employees, customers and contractors. Including customers from overseas that are not always familiar with our laws and regulations in Australia, and to be able to help everyone is very rewarding. I work closely with site managers in particular, to ensure solutions are available to prevent incidents – or if they occur, ensuring they don’t happen again. It’s about working together as a community as safety is a shared effort.