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Top women in safety named, including one in town

THUNDER BAY - A local health and safety officer makes a national list of Top Women in Safety

THUNDER BAY — Smashing the glass ceilings, safely, but still getting through them, they are the Top Women of Safety for 2023 that was named by Canada Occupational Safety. 

A total of 66 women are on this year's list, including one from Thunder Bay. 

Karen McKissick is the safety coordinator for Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board. Starting her career with the Catholic Board in 2013, McKissick's skills were really put to the test when Covid-19 swept across the world. 

In a congratulatory statement from the board, it was noted that "the amount of time that went into creating safety precautions during an incredibly stressful time was daunting..., (the Board) is thankful to Karen for her guidance, the hours and hours spent with the Health Unit and the Ministry in meetings, and of course, the many debriefs with Senior Team."

Speaking with McKissick she was in complete shock and surprise with the nomination and was eager to know who put her name forward. She told TBNewswatch that when she heard the news, she was proud of all the hard work that she's been doing, especially with the board for the past 11 years. 

"A funny story, was when I was in HR, no one wanted to do health and safety. So they gave it to me and I ended up discovering that it really was a passion" said McKissick on how she found her way into health and safety. 

It was during the pandemic that she realized it was her place to shine despite the gravity of the situation. The winner said that she had been in a way preparing for something, which allowed her to bring all of her knowledge forward to keep everyone safe.

In her parting words, McKissick said that she is thankful for the TBCDSB in allowing her to be autonomous with her role and supportive of her and what she brings to the table. She loves her job and feels fortunate to be in a position that she loves doing. 

According to Canadian government data, in 2022, men were overwhelmingly represented in risk professions, accounting for:

  • 95% of employees in construction
  • 81% of employees in mining
  • 71% of employees in manufacturing
  • 70% of employees in agriculture

A full list of the winners can be seen here, including another local leader Mika Lees who 5 Star Health & Safety Consultant in 2021. 

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