It's all in the detail
Published: 18 Nov 2015
Name: Katherine Pithie
Job: HSEQ Manager
Company: Wood Group Kenny
I usually get up at 5.30am and get my two girls, aged four and five, ready for nursery and school and make sure my 18-year-old son is up and getting ready for work. I run the two miles from my house to the train station in Montrose and reach the office before 8am.
I kick off the day with a cup of coffee and then it’s straight into management meetings and catching up with e-mails. My mornings will also usually include activities such as internal audit write-ups and conducting HSEQ inductions.
My role covers regions including the UK, Norway and also Baku, so I do travel quite a lot. I am ultimately responsible for anything relating to health, safety, environment and quality so every day is different. This can go from reviewing procedures and training our engineers in document quality control, to leadership meetings and liaising with clients to gain their feedback.
I also interact with people at all levels in the company from graduates to Wood Group Kenny’s CEO, Bob MacDonald.
You have to have a real eye for detail to work in HSEQ and I am admittedly a bit of a perfectionist, both in the office and outside of work too. However, I think that trait is why I was drawn to work in this area and I wouldn’t want to do anything else.
I try to stop for my lunchbreak and will sometimes go to the gym. I find it’s a good way to de-stress and clear my head so I can come back in the afternoon with a fresh perspective and renewed energy.
My afternoon can be spent speaking to the engineers in the office and helping them to solve any problems they might have. As much as the engineers learn from me about the HSEQ side of things which are incorporated in their everyday work, I learn from them too. I thrive on constant learning; I improve myself and help to improve the team.
We may have an engineering team meeting where all the engineering directors globally come together to review our processes and HSEQ performance. These tend to be in the afternoon to capture most time zones.
HSEQ is so important because if something in the engineering process goes wrong because of minor details being overlooked in the early stages, people can get hurt. Safety and assurance is Wood Group’s top priority core value and it is something I work to ensure is upheld in each detail of the projects I oversee. This is something we expect from ourselves and what our clients expect of us; we don’t stand for second best.
I finish work at 5pm to catch the train and then run back home. Exercise is a big part of my day! I always try to have tea with the girls then bath them and get them off to bed. Then I start studying – I am working towards my NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) certificate and hope to go on to complete my quality management diploma.
I am also currently refreshing my lifeguard training to help out with the swimming club at our local pool where my daughters are learning to swim. When I was 14, I trained with the Scotland swimming squad for several years and it is still a passion of mine. I think the dedication and discipline required to undertake sport at this level is why I like to have a schedule and have everything in its place.