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A hidden passion for construction: How Meabh Gleeson discovered her true calling in safety
As a university student immersed in her environmental science studies, Meabh Gleeson never envisioned a career in construction. However, while on work placement, a pharmaceutical company presented an unexpected opportunity to explore the construction industry as a safety intern, which changed everything. Over six months, the University of Limerick graduate unearthed a passion for the sector and realised that she had found her true calling.
“After my placement, the goal was always to return to construction, particularly safety. I loved the fast-paced nature and regular changes. My dream was to work for a global contractor on big projects, and that’s where I ended up with Mercury. I initially started out with a focus to gain as much experience as possible,” she recalls.
This newfound enthusiasm propelled Meabh into a thriving career path, and after graduating from college she held various safety roles with smaller construction companies. In 2021 she joined Mercury as an EHS Lead on a complex data centre project in Paris, France, and hasn’t looked back since.
It’s evident that Meabh has found her passion, combining her background in environmental science with her keen interests in construction and safety. Nearly two years in, Meabh is well-established in her role, and is insistent that her experience with Mercury has lived up to all expectations.
“The only thing that’s the same is that no two days are the same, which is my favourite thing about working in safety for Mercury. I really like the variety that the role offers. One day you can be out on site dealing with a practical issue or delivering a toolbox talk, while the next might see you in the office overseeing reports or strategising how best to implement our Work Safe, Home Safe culture. Of course, there is also the people side, which involves working with subcontractors and conducting regular meetings with the client team.”
A natural team player, Meabh is adamant that a happy and diverse team environment is intrinsic for mission success. “There are people from so many unique backgrounds on this project, and I was welcomed with open arms from day one,” she states. Meabh also enjoys the competitive yet collaborative spirit amongst her colleagues which she believes adds an “element of fun” as the team works towards project delivery in a manner that places safety at the core.
When asked what sets Mercury’s safety standards apart, she is quick to note that, “Before joining the company I was aware that Mercury was the gold standard for safety in the industry and from being part of the team here it’s clear why.’’ Working with Mercury’s wider safety and operations team, including Aisling Goff, Business Unit Lead, Vicki Simmonds, Senior EHS BU Manager, and Sabrina Barrett, Group EHS Coordinator, Meabh draws “inspiration and encouragement” from the senior positions held by our female leaders, and credits this supportive environment as a motivating factor in her career.
The Co. Leitrim native acknowledges that there may be some variances in safety culture between different countries, including France. However, she believes that Mercury’s Work Safe, Home Safe approach is universally applicable, and has been successfully implemented in various locations. “Safety is our anchor value and is a focal point of Mercury’s operations,” Meabh says. “We’re very much focused on behaviour-based safety, which fosters a safety-oriented mindset among all on site. The company recently launched a safety mentorship programme for all our EHS teams which facilities knowledge sharing and collaboration, while providing us, as safety professionals with confidence that we are supported by the wider-group.”
Meabh is keen to highlight another positive aspect of her career with Mercury – the opportunity to travel. She has embraced living in Paris, where an abundance of museums, restaurants, and diverse districts await exploration. She likens the city to a “European New York” and often enjoys soaking up the atmosphere in bars, while meeting friends and colleagues along the Seine. In addition, Meabh appreciates the proximity to other high-profile European destinations which she frequents during her rotations.
Meabh’s journey exemplifies how embracing unexpected opportunities and following one’s passion can lead to a fulfilling and successful career in a field that was never part of the original plan.
Reflecting on her career to date, Meabh takes pride in her accomplishments and remains eager to achieve even more. ‘‘I’ve achieved a lot of my goals but there is still so much more I want to do, and I know that with Mercury it’s possible because they treat safety with the respect it deserves- as a fundamental component of the construction process,” she concludes.
WORKSAFE | HOMESAFE
We are dedicated to achieving the highest possible standards of Health & Safety. Safety is embedded in our DNA, it is the Mercury way – from design to construction, commissioning, and handover – our safety processes ensure adequate coordination and communication to enable our projects to be constructed safely.
Our team understand that by sticking to the safe coordinated plan we can guarantee that our people get home safely to their families at the end of every day. Safety is personal and we intervene proactively to ensure compliance day by day and hour by hour. We respect our workforce, and they respect our management as an integrated team with a common goal – to get home safe each day. Through our Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) policies and procedures, we ensure an industry leading project delivery every time and most importantly – the safety and wellbeing of all our employees.
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