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Small Talk....with Shay Wielders

We have asked multiple #safetysisters and #malechampions the same questions, and we want to share their stories, their highs and lows with you.

Meet Shay!


Why do you work in Health and Safety? What initially fed my passion for safety was working in the industry at a time before 'zero harm' or 'safety culture' were relevant. As a single mum I was often confronted when tasks around me were performed by taking short cuts and disregard for procedures. I worried about something happening to me and my girls being left without a mother. I made it my personal obligation to never work unsafely or let my work mates do any task without following procedures. I soon earned the nickname Safety Shay and so I started to study my certification in my own time to give me more of an understanding of what was required. An opportunity years later opened the door for me to move from an operator into a HSE role. Here I am 15 years later still loving my job and learning everyday. What do you see for the future of the health and safety profession? My dream has always been that eventually HSE professionals will not need to be monitoring safety in the workplace because the culture is such that each individual is taking care of themselves and their work mates and following the requirements. Our job will be to research and keep finding better, safer ways to do high risk tasks using technology and advancing forward with the use of electronic data available in the work area in the form of step by step instructions and guidance. What is an initiative you have been a part of or seen that you think really impacted safety culture? I have implemented in a couple of my work places the use of smart phones to record and send in hazard observations and inspections. This allowed controls and actions to be put in place immediately and also advance towards a paperless system. The same application I use for my own inspections and audits. The number of hazard observations went up significantly and the participation of crew that had previously not bothered to report hazards was encouraging.

Share one of your favourite Health and Safety moments/memories. I am very interested in my crews health and for this reason I promote skin checks and flu shots etc. Working in Adelaide we had a skin specialist come to site and do skin cancer checks on the 150+ crew. After a week or so one of the work crew approached me and thanked me for organizing the checks. The specialist had identified a spot on his lip that was basal cell carcinoma and he had it removed immediately. The worker said it had been there for ages and thought nothing of it. He admitted that he got the skin check because it was a chance to stop work for awhile. His wife asked him to thank me and I believe that out of all that group if this one person was prevented from having complications down the line from that skin cancer then it was worth it.

Thanks for sharing Shay.

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