My Story: Christine Steman
My story starts in June 2001, when I was fresh out of college. I was desperate for an environmental job in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area and was willing to take anything. I happened to run into a woman in a clothing store where I was applying and she stated her daughter was at a small consulting company just up the road. I left the store, made my way to the company and was hired on the spot because of two things: my HAZWOPER training and growing up on a family farm.
I was able to gain education in the asbestos and hazardous waste field and obtained my CHMM in 2010. I continued my education in regulations, waste, safety, ISO audits and remediation at many types of properties and companies.
In 2016, I knew that I wanted to shift my focus from environmental to the health and safety side. I was able to take over the health and safety work from my manager, and I got to work at improving the communication and education for the employees, as well as maintaining compliance for large oil and gas companies. Also in 2016, I knew that I was going to need more training in safety, and passed the ASP. I then furthered my education with completing the CSP this year.
I was very fortunate that a company, Polaris Industries, saw that my experience and education would be an asset to its Osceola, WI, facility. Since March of this year, I have been able to continue training and education for employees and revitalize the safety culture with safety boards, regular communications via email or in person, and safety alerts.
The defining moment in my career, so far, is the feedback from employees thanking me for trainings or for basic communication about their safety. Seeing their faces when they realize that someone is listening and that they know their ideas or concerns are taken seriously is what makes me excited to come to work every day. It has been amazing to work with our manufacturing employees all the way up to the managers to find solutions for ergonomics and other safety concerns.
Not everyone “loves” safety, but everyone wants to feel safe, not only at home but at their office, be it at a desk or on the line. I am learning a lot from everyone, and I am so fortunate to have the support not only from my manager, but from our entire corporate team.
Christine Steman, CHMM, CSP