Environmental safety specialist excited to be back in the field

Allison Barrett visits BASF Canada sites for first time because of pandemic

Environmental safety specialist excited to be back in the field
Allison Barrett- Environmental health and safety specialist

Two and a half years after taking on the role of environmental health and safety senior specialist with chemical company BASF Canada, Allison Barrett is finally getting the opportunity to visit the work sites she’s responsible for. Barrett started with the company in March 2020, just as the global COVID-19 pandemic began.

“I got two weeks in the office, before we got sent home. So, I've done an awful lot with BASF without actually being able to visit most of our sites,” says Barrett.  She is flying out to Alberta next week to see those sites and meet her colleagues in person, “rather than having somebody walk around with a cell phone on a video call showing me what's going on.’’

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Barrett is excited to be back in the field, terrain she knows well from spending the better part of the past two decades as an environmental consultant working in Alberta’s oil patch as well as in the mining industry in northern Ontario and around the world.

“I've had some really phenomenal opportunities,” says the chemistry major from Guelph, Ontario. Barrett spent most of her career focusing on air quality, but she also had to exercise her people management skills.

“I worked for a few different consulting companies, always doing the same types of roles, just, you know, running teams, running projects, running small groups,” says Barrett, who doesn’t manage people in her current role with BASF, “but I do get to work with all of our sites across Canada, which provide some really interesting perspectives.”

Barrett has also shifted her attention towards waste management and disposal, ensuring the environment isn’t negatively impacted by the activities of the business.

“My specialty really is environmental management and ensuring that our facilities are able to do what they do on a day-to-day basis, with minimal impact on the environment now, and of course, applying new technologies and new business practices to help reduce both our environmental and our climate impact in the future.”

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Transitioning from consultant to a full member of the team has been smooth for Barrett and rewarding. She says consultants typically don’t see the end results of their work because they “tend to swing in, do a bunch of stuff and then leave.”  But now Barrett can follow her projects all the way through to completion.

“Now I actually get to hang around and see what the end result really is. And really shape that end result.”

An element of ownership this environmental safety expert cherishes.