Gabriella Karam is a Health & Safety Administrator with Cleary Doyle. In this role, Gabriella evaluates subcontractors’ health and safety practices, liaises with Cleary Doyle colleagues on the company’s safety policies and procedures and presents toolbox talks.
What does your job involve?
My day-to-day work requires people skills and up-to-date knowledge of health and safety legislation, the Health and Safety Authority Codes of Practice, etc.
An intrinsic part of my work is to evaluate each subcontractor’s health and safety procedures and practices and identify any areas where improvements or upskilling are required. I also liaise with colleagues to ensure that the company’s safety policies and procedures are being adhered to daily by all Cleary Doyle workers and subcontractors.
What qualifications do you have?
I have a Bachelor’s Degree with Honours in International Affairs, in which I learned about other cultures, countries, politics and economies.
Working with people from different countries can be challenging; there are language and cultural differences to be understood. I believe that the one thing we all have in common is wanting to be respected and understood. So, being tolerant and empathetic with others is key to having a healthy, multicultural workplace.
I have a Masters Degree with Honours in Dispute Resolution from the Independent College Dublin, a course on which I received the Barry Halton Award 2020 for outstanding academic achievement. This was a great honour for me. The key focus of the course was on mediation and arbitration. I certainly make use of this at work on a daily basis. Having empathy and being tolerant in a multicultural environment is crucial but can only take you so far. Disputes arise in workplaces, and construction is not immune to this. Finding a way to resolve issues in a respectful and understanding manner with clear communications makes a massive difference in improving work relations.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, I completed the ‘Managing Safely In Construction (MSIC)’ course with the Construction Industry Federation. The course focused on construction legislation, safety methods and codes of practice and helped me understand the technicalities and necessary complexities to develop and maintain a safe system of work in construction. This course gave me a greater perspective on what safety in construction means and how there’s always room for improvement.
Cleary Doyle has been nothing but supportive and appreciative of the skills I acquired over my years of education. The company gave me the opportunity to develop my competencies further and stay true to my beliefs and convictions. I am proud to be part of a company that respects, values and celebrates the diversity of its employees and makes good use of our differences in culture, background and gender to improve its quality of work.
Is all of your work site-based?
My favourite part of my job role is to spend time on site, in the outdoors, giving toolbox talks and being where the action is. I consider this to be both the most important and exciting part of my day because it allows me to engage with people, ensuring everyone goes back home safely every day.
What does it mean to work at Cleary Doyle?
Cleary Doyle has given me the opportunity to take on many challenges. It encourages me to better myself and develop my skills in many different areas.
How has Covid-19 impacted your work?
As a result of Covid-19, Cleary Doyle introduced new rules and control measures in order to adjust our sites and health and safety procedures, based on the latest CIF and Government’s Covid-19 guidelines. I was delighted to be a part of making this adaptation happen. Covid-19 has led me to develop greater communication skills, pushing me to find different ways to interact and engage with people due to this new reality.
What is your greatest challenge?
I believe the biggest challenge in my role is coming up with engaging ways to inform workers and help them stay safe on site. Health and safety rules are there to protect everyone on site. Keeping workspaces safe and working safely should be intuitive to everyone. Health and safety workers have to ensure that all workers are always alert to potential risks and know how to address them. Empathy and good communication skills are crucial to getting this message across.