My Story: Krystle Hodge
The field of safety was actually something I actively went after in my career journey. Most people would tell you they worked in operations or in another area and ended up in safety. My experience was different. I was in the last year of my graduate school program at the University of Texas School of Public Health. I started an internship with the Harris County (TX) Occupational Health Department. During this time, I was working part time as a lab technician at Rice University in the environmental science department, but was not certain of my next steps in my career.
Interning allowed me to participate in workplace establishment inspections with the county. Although the auto body shops, nail shops and food establishment inspections proved interesting, I found that, in most cases, the employees lacked education in safety, had no safety training and were not even aware of the location of the first aid kits. It was then that I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my career. I wanted to go into the environmental, health and safety field because it was my responsibility to help educate others on the importance of safety. Everyone deserves to go home the same way they come to work – healthy and safe.
After this time, I went to work for the City of Houston in the Health and Human Services Department after doing an internship there the previous year. After some time, I finally broke into the field of occupational safety working in oil and gas, supporting safety and environmental management programs in addition to leading trainings, audits, inspections, etc. More recently, I have gained experience working in construction and manufacturing.
My journey breaking into safety was not easy, and I did have to do a lot of crawling before arriving where I am today.
I have had the opportunity to gain great mentors and work with helpful colleagues who have helped me along my journey. I currently serve as the senior vice president of communications for the Gulf Coast Chapter of the American Society of Safety Professionals. I also serve as the assistant administrator for the ASSP Blacks in Safety Excellence Common Interest Group. With my organizations, we are able to pay it back to society by providing technical talks as well as volunteer and scholarship opportunities to OHS professionals and students. In 2018, I was awarded the ASSP BISE Safety Professional the Year Award. That moment for me was not about the recognition; it was about knowing I have and am still fulfilling the goal I set out years ago when I first started in this field. It is my responsibility to share the importance of safety with others, and I promise to continue to pay it forward.
Krystle Hodge, MPH, CSP