Cathy Kane

Position: EHS Lead, Life Sciences & Technology
Time with the Company: 22 Years

Tell us a bit about yourself & what led you to your current role?Cathy Kane - Mercury -Women in Construction

I completed my Leaving Cert in 1997 and not knowing what I wanted to do in college I decided to take a year out and work. I got a job for the summer in a large semiconductor plant project and while I was there I made the decision to start an apprenticeship with Mercury where I served my 4 ½ years. During my time as an apprentice I became interested in Safety and on completing my apprenticeship I started an Environmental Health & Safety at Work Certificate in UCD part time. I then went on to complete my Higher Diploma in Safety, Health & Welfare at Work for 2 years part time also.

I have had 22 years’ experience in the Construction Industry overall working on a wide variety of projects in different sectors as an Electrician and in the last 15 years as an Environmental, Health and Safety Advisor/Lead.

Mercury’s EHS team just had the incredible achievement of working 50 projects in the last 12 months without a single LTI. Can you tell us a bit about your experience on Mercury’s EHS team to date?

As a member of the EHS team, every day is different with varying challenges. The project that we have previously completed was challenging to a point where the trades had no access to install the services in such a small building. Initially the project was cancelled due to the building being too small to suit the design. Eventually it went ahead and the trades dealt with a series of service clashes throughout the project. Services had to be installed in many areas where access was so restricted that the trades could not carry out certain parts of the project at all until our EHS team had reviewed the areas and produced a plan. We ended up putting plans in place that allowed the trades to access these areas safely and we also put rescue plans in place in the event that something would happen. When the job was completed, I looked back over the project and thought how well everyone did to help get the job over the line in such a restricted area and a tight schedule.

You’re a qualified electrician as well as an EHS advisor. What advice would you have to women who want to take part in a trade or join the construction industry?

As a female in a predominately male dominated profession I believe any female can do just as good a job as a male. From my own experience working for Mercury I was never treated any different from the other lads on my crews. I was always given jobs on my ability as opposed to my gender. A great advantage of having a trade like that of an electrician, plumber etc, is that you can use your skills in other countries. I found that I really enjoyed being in an active profession rather than sitting in an office or a classroom for the day.

What’s the most surprising part of being a woman working in Construction?

The reaction you get from people when you tell them what you do for a living. I believe women shouldn’t be treated any different from their peers. It is getting better, however, there are very few females you come across in construction in management roles.

What has been your favourite part of your career so far and the most challenging part?

My favourite part has definitely been helping people and knowing at the end of each day that everyone is going home safely to their families. The biggest challenge is time management and delegation. Construction can create a demanding fast paced schedule. It is important to prioritise the important tasks and to delegate as best you can. Also, to know when to ask for help.


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