Making a Difference

Congratulations to the 2019 CAODC/UFred Occupational Health & Safety Scholarship Winner Asher Keim of Precision Well Servicing

Twenty-six years ago, in 1993, I began a career in the oil and gas industry right after graduating high school. In 2004 I came to Precision Well Servicing as a Rig Manager after working my way up at various companies. By 2010, I needed to challenge myself in a new direction and chose to apply to their HSE department. During my years in the field—service rigs, drilling rigs, snubbing units, and other positions—I found that there were a lot of unaddressed hazards and at-risk behaviours which needed to be corrected within the industry. Although I wanted to effect change on my worksite as a rig manager, I realized I wanted to make change within the company and the industry as a whole to protect workers in general. That choice changed my life, opening my eyes to an entirely new safety perspective and the result was a major career path change. After nine years, I felt that I needed to grow, to embrace a post-secondary education and bring my new career path forward to advance the safety culture of PWS and all CAODC member companies.

My objective is to move forward with my career in terms of knowledge, influence, and educational credibility. The opportunity afforded by the University of Fredericton and the CAODC will provide me with a stronger leadership role within PWS as well to step up to work on CAODC committees as a representative on a more regular basis. As the University of Fredericton School of Occupational Health and Safety states “Without formal academic and professional credentials, safety professionals may now find themselves to be at a distinct disadvantage.” It is very difficult, and at times embarrassing due to lack of formal education, to be a safety professional with years of experience and no formal education aside from stand alone courses.

Taking the opportunity to apply for the Occupational Health and Safety Scholarship will begin my path through the educational portion of being a safety professional and provide me with the tools to make a stronger difference in the workplace, the industry, and in life. The Certificate in Health, Safety & Environmental Processes (CHSEP) will be the beginning of my formal education and provide many more educational opportunities.

After completing the CHSEP I plan to expand my studies with the Diploma in Safety, Health, and Environmental Management (SHEM) offered by the University of Fredericton. This is a continuation of the CRSP Pathway program and, once completed, I will be taking the Canadian Registered Safety Professional exam.

Becoming an Energy Safety Canada auditor (once the CHSEP is completed) will be an interim milestone. Education has become the key to becoming a stronger asset to my company and to the industry. Ultimately, the CRSP is my career objective which will garner credibility to use alongside many years of active hands-on experience.

When asked how receiving this scholarship will help achieve my career objective, it becomes apparent that this scholarship is the cornerstone of my future as it is the gateway to further education and professional growth. I want to be a voice for a stronger safety culture and help bring about change within this industry.

Change comes through understanding and guiding workers to a better understanding. This is a duty we all share, but it is an honour and a privilege to potentially help create that future.