Women in Construction: Trina Pharand achieves success with health and safety responsibilities at NORCAT

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trina business profile

Trina Pharand, manager of occupational health and safety and environment at NORCAT, has a diverse professional background, including a Bachelor of Science (Hons) degree in Biology and Certificate in Environmental Biology from Laurentian University. She is also a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) and a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) and currently sits as a director on the Northeastern Ontario Construction Association (NOCA) board of directors.

Over the past 10 years, Pharand’s career has spanned multiple industries. She worked in managerial roles in health and safety, training and development, human resources, labour and employee relations and quality assurance for sectors including construction, mining, oil and gas and technical trades.

In her professional career with NORCAT she says she has “the opportunity to be part of a world class team, serving the construction sector, among others, with an array of top-tier supervisory, productivity, and health and safety programs and services.”

Pharand currently manages NORCAT’s internal health and safety programs, in addition to providing strategic consultancy to clients in industry to minimize risk, and identify and implement opportunities for continuous improvement.

“I am blessed to be part of a culture which aligns with my personal core values, one which empowers our clients, staff and community partners to drive a culture of safety, innovation and life-long learning,” she said.

She says serving as director on the NOCA board of directors gives her “the opportunity to be part of a group of passionate industry professionals that are committed to strengthening and supporting the construction industry.”

Pharand is the association’s chair of the health and safety committee and policies and procedures committee. She says this allows her to contribute her skill sets and passion for safety and governance, in addition to taking an active role in helping shape the construction industry for future growth and education.   She also serves as secretary on the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) board for the Mid-North Ontario Chapter. The CSSE promotes a greater awareness of health, safety and environmental issues in workplaces and communities. Pharand says there are many challenges in her career, including achieving client buy-in, reactive versus proactive safety, and investment of resources. She, like others in her field, uses education to overcome these barriers.

“I have been fortunate to have not experienced gender inequality in regards to professional opportunities within my career progression.” she says. “Throughout my career, I have been provided with opportunities for professional growth, regardless of my gender.”

However, she says that although she has not experienced external barriers as a woman in the industry herself, stigma and stereotypes have influenced her own personal beliefs around her competence and abilities as a young professional woman throughout her career. “I found myself actively managing the impression I made on other professionals within the industry. Without personally experiencing gender specific challenges, the ingrained perspectives resulted in internalized perceived barriers.”

Pharand says that to her “knowledge, women account for approximately 12 per cent of the labour force in the construction industry in Canada, which indicates that it is still a male dominated industry. This is disheartening and demonstrates that more progress is needed to promote careers to women in the construction industry.”

She encourages young women to consider a career in a dynamic industry which “shapes our world. I advise women not to let stigma get in the way of pursing your passion, but rather allow it to fuel your ambition. The construction industry provides great opportunity for learning, growth and development.”

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