Yvonne O'Reilly, CRSP
I never thought about a career in health and safety. In fact, way back in the 90’s, I didn’t even know it was an option. While I was working at the Toronto Transit Commission, I was injured off-the-job. I was unable to return to my original role and was transferred to a construction field office. At the same time, a new role had been created for a construction safety officer to establish a management program and work with our construction field inspectors. I became very interested in learning about OHS management systems. Robert “Officer Bob” Plewes became my mentor (and still is!), and suggested I register for the OHS certificate at Ryerson because I was good at asking questions, and that was a skill I’d need as an OHS professional. Among Bob’s many accomplishments, he served as secretary/treasurer on the governing board of the ACRSP (the predecessor to the BCRSP). Before I even finished my certificate, Bob had ingrained in me the importance of obtaining my CRSP as a way to demonstrate my skills, knowledge and experience.
I applied to challenge the exam as soon as I’d met the minimum requirements. Studying for the exam reminded me how much I liked health and safety, which was a good thing since the preparation was detailed and required a lot of commitment.
It was a proud day when I received the letter confirming that I had passed my exam. I knew I had accomplished something of value. It was also very important for my consulting role, because it gave confidence to clients that they were working with someone who had met stringent criteria, and passed a challenging exam. As an added bonus, it also led to a raise in salary.
Maintaining my designation challenges me to continue to learn and upgrade my skills. The Board has a rich and dynamic history, and there are tremendous benefits to being linked to so many outstanding safety professionals in Canada and internationally.
When I think of the designation and the BCRSP, there are three things that I’m most proud of: accomplishing the goal that my mentor encouraged me to achieve, that I’ve been able to advise and support others to reach their personal goals and broaden their professional opportunities by becoming CRSPs, and that I had the privilege of serving 3 terms on the governing board.
I still strongly believe in the value of the CRSP and feel that it’s an investment not only in yourself, but contributes to the goal of healthier & safer employees, workplaces, and communities.
Yvonne O'Reilly, CRSP
O'Reilly Health and Safety Consulting