International Women in Engineering Day 2023 – meet Rachel Foley,
Health & Safety Officer at Wills
What is your career path so far?
When I was 18, I finished my leaving cert and went directly to college to study occupational safety and health. When this job description was outlined in my secondary school careers class, I knew I wanted to be a health and safety officer and have worked towards that goal ever since. This ultimately paid off when I was hired as a Health and Safety Officer for Wills Bros.
How long have you worked for Wills Bros?
I have only been with Wills for just over a month now, but I see myself here for the future.
What interested you in Engineering and construction?
When I was considering future employment options, I had two options: Garda or Health and Safety Officer. I enjoy law and legislation because I find it interesting but I felt a health and safety officer would be a better fit for me because I’ve always had a deep interest in construction and outdoors activities, and you can always discover new places where sites are located, etc.
What are the kinds of things you do on a daily basis?
So it would vary on a daily basis based on what work is being done on site. Daily site inspections to ensure that work is being completed to a high safety standard are required. I would also provide manual handling training to any staff that needed it.
Paperwork is also an important element of being a health and safety officer, such as ensuring that all RAMS, permits to work, lifts, working at heights, and so on are in place before the job begins, as well as ensuring that workers have the right training and competency for the machinery they are operating.
Inductions for new employees, orders, toolbox discussions, and trainings are all part of the job.
What do you like best about it?
I enjoy my job as a Health and Safety Officer because I enjoy being outside and having responsibility and to have a role in protecting the people on site. I am fortunate to be working as part of a highly experienced and friendly team, which makes the job even more pleasurable.
What would you say to other young people considering a career in the industry?
If you want to work in health and safety, don’t allow anything stand in your way. I thought it would be a difficult profession to enter into, and I knew it was dominated by men, but there’s a genuine sense of camaraderie when you’re working on a project. It’s a very rewarding job and I cant see myself every doing anything different.
Pictured below is our Dublin Port site, where Rachel is currently based.
Read the full story behind INWED UK here.