Welcome to the Safeti Podcast
‘My Dirty Safety Secret’ with Katherine Randell
In this Episode, we talk to Katherine Randell CMIOSH, Head of Fire, Safety, Quality & Environment at the prestigious Canary Wharf Group in London.
Katherine recently posted a very candid Linkedin article relating to her ‘Dirty Safety Secret’.
I think there will be lots of people within the profession who will empathise with Katherine’s story. The openness and honesty in Katherine’s post was both admirable and courageous, we dig a little bit deeper into the reasons why she felt the need to write her article.
To find out what that secret was and what she done about it, have a listen.
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Transcript – here’s a taster
Hi welcome to episode 10 of the safeti podcast. I’m your host Richard Collins. Today we have something a little bit different for you. Whenever I read Katherine Randall’s post on LinkedIn of her dirty safety secret, there’s a few things kind of sprung to mind.
Firstly I breathed a little bit of a sigh of relief. I was just glad that she had come out and said it and it did resonate with me. Secondly I was in admiration of her courage and actually doing that.
But thirdly I was inspired to bring her on the show and dig a little bit deeper with her and talk about the actual reasons as to why she felt this way.
So I hear you ask, what was that dirty safety secret that she was talking about? Well it was simply that she was embarrassed to tell people that she worked in health and safety.
Welcome to the Safeti podcast with your host all the way from a small green island in the wild Atlantic Ocean, Richard Collins.
So I’ve invited Katherine on the show today to talk about this issue which she seemed to struggle with for quite some time. Thankfully she pushed on through these struggles & is now the head of fire safety quality and environment at the prestigious canary wharf group in London.
I’m sure lots of you will resonate with what Katherine’s experience has been here and hopefully you can take away something positive from this conversation. So without further ado let’s go and speak to Katherine Randell.
Katherine Randell thank you very much for coming on the show today on the safeti podcast. How are you keeping?
I’m good thank you so much for having me.
No problem I’m really looking forward to having a nice frank discussion relating to your very honest and and open article that you published on LinkedIn quite recently. Which had a really good positive reaction from your network and the title of that was my dirty safety secret.
Warts and all
Yeah its true warts and all kind of approach to how I’ve kind of perceived myself as a safety professional over the years. I was just having a think about it one night and it just felt like something I needed to speak about. So that’s why I just I just wrote the article.
It’s really interesting to see how something like that – you know when you may have a thought like this and think that I’ll not share it with anyone because no one else will be thinking the same.
But as soon as you start talking about it as you’ve seen from your article, there’s hundreds of people going yeah I agree with you and this is something that really resonates with people.
So it’s awesome that you’ve done that and it’s a relatively short article and you created a bit of a stir with it. So I look forward to discussing it more with you here.
Can you give the audience a wee bit of a background of how you’ve actually developed into the health and safety professional you are now and where your career came from.
From the beginning
Yeah of course I’m one of the rarities in this world in which I chose from day one to be in Health and Safety. I started when I was 16. So I suppose most people don’t really know what they want to do at sixteen.
But I got a part-time job in the summer at health and safety consultancy and it piqued my interest and so I kind of over the next couple years did my qualifications and then began properly full-time when I was 18 and I really liked the variety.
Since I started out I’ve gone through quite a few industries. I’ve done consultancy, I’ve done education to work in university, which was really interesting. Housing, social housing. Facilities management, construction.
Now I’m finally at the position I’m in I head up a team, in a really iconic destination. Which is really exciting and it’s amazing. But it’s been quite a difficult road in terms of my personal, I suppose understanding and agreement of doing it with being in health and safety.
So although I knew I wanted to do it I had to kind of convince myself over the years that this was definitely what I wanted to do. That’s how I ended up where I am today really.
What’s the big secret?
Yeah I mean don’t get me wrong I am beyond proud to do the job that I do and I think it is one of the most worthy jobs to do. You know we are helping companies and people and preventing anyone hopefully from going or not returning home.
So it’s a fantastic career and it’s got the variety. It’s got you know the different areas it can go in, it’s brilliant. But I know when I started at 16 and for a long time after that when I would tell individuals what I did. I would be constantly met with the kind of eye rolling or the kind of just boredom of oh my god you do health and safety.
And I think that especially when you’re young and impressionable that really at the beginning hit me. As am I doing something which people don’t actually want to do, have I made a bad career choice here.
So although I knew day to day when I was doing the job that I really loved it. When I was telling people about it I wasn’t so enthusiastic about it and I think that’s where the embarrassment stemmed from.
Self-generated to an extent but also the public perception and the way that people reacted to me really did suppose increase that embarrassment.