How Tamara Weaver helped create her first position in safety
When Tamara Weaver graduated high school, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life. She was just 18-years-old when she accepted a receptionist job with Modern Niagara Group and little did she know that it would be the beginning of an award-worthy career in health and safety.
“Never be afraid to go after what you want," says Weaver, who in retrospect, offers that advice to anyone just starting out in their health and safety career, because that is exactly what she did.
Part of her job as a receptionist with the firm, which designs, builds, and manages mechanical construction projects and building systems, involved reviewing safety paperwork and regularly reading safety meetings and hazard assessments. “It just automatically piqued an interest,” explains Weaver, “I quickly became interested in that, and I wanted to learn more about safety within the construction industry itself.”
The Calgary office for the company didn’t have a health and safety professional at the time, and instead of hoping the company might grow large enough to create a position, Weaver asked for it. Eager to explore the field further, she approached the Calgary managers and the national safety manager, expressing her desire to pursue a career in safety. Impressed by her enthusiasm, they supported Weaver's journey by guiding her towards the necessary safety training.
While working full-time, she completed her safety administration training through the Alberta Construction Safety Association and pursued a two-year program at the University of New Brunswick, where she achieved an occupational health and safety certificate. Weaver plans to obtain her CRSP designation and a diploma in occupational health and safety, continually expanding her knowledge and expertise.
By upgrading her education, Weaver was also able to earn a promotion, moving from safety coordinator to HSE specialist within the company. Weaver has played a pivotal role in bridging the gap between different generations in the construction industry.
Recognizing the need for improved training and mentorship, she emphasizes the importance of communication and understanding among workers. "There's always a cultural difference and a buy-in gap between the older and younger generations," Weaver notes. "By establishing personal connections and building relationships, I strive to create an environment where workers feel comfortable speaking up and asking questions, ultimately enhancing safety on job sites."
By speaking up for herself, and advocating for her own career ambitions, while encouraging others to do the same when it comes to health and safety on the job, Weaver has been recognized with a Young Achievers award, given to 40 safety professionals under the age of 35.
"My passion for finding new initiatives to enhance safety and working closely with construction field workers has helped me develop and make a positive impact within the company," says Weaver when asked why she thinks she received the special recognition.
Offering advice to aspiring safety professionals, Weaver encourages them to never shy away from seeking help and never stop learning. “In safety, you're helping people at the end of the day…the people are great, the experiences are great. And just find the avenue that your passion you're passionate about.” Weaver adds, building relationships and being open to new opportunities are crucial for personal and professional growth.
Weaver's story serves as an inspiration to those entering the field of safety, demonstrating the power of dedication, continuous learning, and a genuine commitment to promoting a safer work environment. As she continues to make strides in her career, Weaver's contributions to construction safety are poised to shape the industry positively for years to come.