Today at Berkeley Lab

Profiles in Safety: Nancy Saxer

As a Contracts Officer in the Office of Chief Financial Officer, Office of Sponsored Projects & Industry Partnerships, Nancy Saxer does not work on overtly dangerous construction sites or in a lab with hazardous materials, but she has become increasingly conscious of how safety bears on her work in an office and on walking between buildings at the Lab.

She attributes this awareness to reading the safety articles in TABL and serving on the EH&S Communications Committee. She says, “Now, I try to pay attention as I walk around — noticing things like where fire extinguishers and exits are, and not just knowing the location of the door I used to enter a building. This applies when I go to movies, too, or other crowded places outside of work.” Saxer also plans to take the EH&S class on fire extinguishers, as she reasoned, “What is the point of knowing where they are at work or having them at home if I don’t know how to use them?”

Her safety sense may also come from having earned a master’s degree from UC Berkeley in public health. She observes, “Safety at the Lab follows the public health model, which emphasizes prevention, and prevention is often the least expensive and most crucial aspect of maintaining health.” Along this line, when she noticed that a heavily traveled stairwell near Building 71B felt just slightly odd and possibly unstable in the rain, she reported this. As a result, Facilities inspected and repaired the affected steps.

When asked what makes safety interesting to her, Saxer simply and keenly observes, “I am interested in safety because I want to stay alive, be healthy, and have a good quality of life.” She added “just like being safe when you drive, being safe at work is a good idea.”

Share how you implement safety in your work area, send your stories to [email protected].