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Meet your Safety Superheroes: William Grierson, Laboratory Safety Technologist

August 9, 2019 — 

Similar to superheroes, the safety officers at the University of Manitoba also work to save the day!

Get to know the safety professionals in your Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) office. We’re spilling the “safe-tea” with these safety heroes to learn about their career path and the rewards and challenges of their role. 

W.-GriersonIntroducing William Grierson, the Laboratory Safety Technologist and Assistant Radiation Safety Officer. You are likely to see William in your laboratory to decommission equipment, testing fumehoods or for a laboratory inspection. In his role in the radiation safety program, he’s responsible for those using X-rays and radioisotopes.

How did you come to this career/position?
I’m a University of Manitoba Faculty of Science alumni. I completed my undergraduate degree in Microbiology/biochemistry with the co-op option. It was through co-op I acquired experiences in different labs leading to a term position in a high containment lab at the National Microbiology Laboratory. I was seeking more permanent opportunities with new challenges when I came across an available position in EHS. I never thought I could use my background in safety but it’s been a good match!

Name something rewarding and challenging in your position.
It’s been rewarding to have the opportunity to train new users so they are comfortable with their work environment. It is satisfying to put people at ease, especially with the amount of misinformation there is about working with radioisotopes.
A challenging part of my position would be navigating complicated regulations that come with radioisotope work. It requires a lot of knowledge translation to interpret these regulations relevant to a university setting and disseminate in a way that is understandable to our researchers.

What might others be surprised to know about what you do?
There is a wide variety of research that requires the use of radioisotopes and X-rays! We have researchers in material science and engineering to basic biochemistry labs. As much as research technology has progressed to substitute for safer alternatives, some experiments need radioisotopes.

Superhero you most identify with and why:

Spiderman because if he does his job right no one knows he was even there – just like our safety programs.

You can reach William at William [dot] grierson [at] umanitoba [dot] ca or at 204-789-3359

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