Job title

Occupational Health and Safety advisor

Who do you work for?

Rio Tinto Coal Australia at its Kestrel Mine in central Queensland

What does your job involve?

Every day is different. One day I might be doing chemical reviews and updates, drug testing, dust and noise monitoring or taking part in investigations to ensure we are meeting our noise and dust requirements.

I am also involved in developing Safety and Health focus points for crews, presenting health and safety information to crews, respiratory fit testing and risk assessments.

Why did you choose to work in this sector?

I did vacation work during my university studies and really enjoyed it so I applied for a graduate position.

What is the most rewarding part of your current job?

Interacting with the crews and hearing what they want to do to improve their health and safety at work.

What has been one of your recent achievements?

Presenting a paper at a conference about diesel particulate matter. This paper highlighted the great work of Kestrel Mine and how far the site has come from where it originally started.

What is the most challenging part of your current job?

Communicating various ideas and points from my team to workers on site and making them fun, interesting and relatable for everyone.

What do you hope to do in the future?

Complete my Masters in Occupational Hygiene and continue to try and improve the health education on site so that it becomes something that is driven by the workforce.

What are some of the other benefits of your job?

  • It’s never the same each and every day. There is always more to learn as the workplace is never the same underground.
  • There are always people willing to tell you about what they do and to share what they know about hazards/risks associated with their work.
  • People are always happy to help where they can.

What training did you have for this job?

  • Completed Year 12 at High School where I studied:
    • Maths,
    • physics,
    • chemistry and
    • biology.
  • Bachelor of Science degree at University of Queensland (St Lucia Campus) in Brisbane
    • Majoring in Microbiology
  • Diploma of Health and Safety at Queensland University of Technology (Kelvin Grove)
  • Currently completing a Masters of Applied Science in Occupational Hygiene through Deakin University

What career advice would you give to school students interested in a similar career?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. On site, there is no such thing as a silly question because not everyone can know the answers to everything and there are going to be others that won’t know the answer in the room either.

Also, learn everything that you can! Never underestimate the usefulness of knowledge no matter where you are or what you are doing.

To find out more about how Rio Tinto supports classroom teaching and learning in maths, science and business studies for young people aged 12-16 visit SMART, our free international education portal. Using a combination of interactive whiteboard presentations, printable lesson plans, worksheets and case studies, students can explore how their academic studies relate to real-world operations in a major global business.