HSE coordinator Tanja Steckel Poulsen dives into the diverse and fast-paced work of health, safety and environment.
What are the main roles of a health, safety and environment coordinator?
The bulk of my job is spent thinking about the end-users who will work on the facility for years to come. I try to put myself in their shoes to ensure that their job is easier and safe. Yes, we also follow many regulations, but HSE is also about making the facility workers’ lives safer so they can produce life-saving drugs while we ensure that the facility has health, safety and environmental compliance.
As HSE coordinator, I have to think about different requirements all the time – the legislation, the customer requirements and our own advisement. We have to find all of the overlapping regulations and make sure they are seamless.
This becomes easier over time after you gain experience with what different customers prefer as well as their own systems. However, regulations are constantly updated so you need to be vigilant and work hard to make sure everything is up to code.
This changing environment is one of my favourite parts of the job. I like the diversity. No two days are the same. I always get to see new projects and work in new places such as Bagsværd, Gentofte and Kalundborg. I find it fascinating to meet new users and see new state-of-the-art facilities.
What is it like to work in an ever-changing environment?
In order to do this job well, you need to be self-motivated. Although you are a part of a department and a team, you need to be able to work alone and actually enjoy it. However, you will often work in teams, with colleagues, the customer and end users. This group work requires certain soft skills, such as the ability to communicate with the customers and end-users. They want to understand the "'why" of health, safety and environment and not always the detailed and technical "how".
Sometimes, it can be a challenge to advise customers who have expectations that differ from your advice. Don’t forget that you are always working in their best interest, while still aligning with all of the legislation and regulations. It helps to be a positive person when facing these challenges.
Our department has grown rapidly in the last two years and is notoriously open to development. If you have an idea, vocalise it. I believe that you have a lot of influence on what you do within the field of HSE in the broadest sense.
- Tanja Steckel Poulsen studied chemistry at the University of Copenhagen
- She has experience working within health, safety and environment for small manufacturing facilities as well as municipalities
- She learned about NNE when her manager from her municipality work joined NNE
- One year later in 2013, Tanja followed and joined the Health, Safety and Environment department at NNE
- Today, she serves as both team coordinator for the HSE Team and HSE specialist