Raquel García López
Raquel García López not only a degree in environmental sciences, but also a wide knowledge of accident prevention and safety at work. This and her work experience qualify her for her job as an HSE technician in our CSP power plant in Spain.
Raquel García López (40) has worked for STEAG since 2014.
How did you first get into contact with STEAG and what education do you need in order to work in your current position?
Although I joined STEAG in January 2014, coinciding with the commercial operation of the Arenales Thermosolar Power Plant in Spain, I first found out about the company the summer before. I had already been working during the plant construction period, in the EPC contractor's (Ecolaire) technical office, from 2012 until the end of 2013. The fact that I was already working on site then, gave me the chance to meet some of the STEAG staff. Because of this, when the deadline of the construction phase was reached, I was be able to continue working at the thermosolar power plant. At that moment I became part of the STEAG family. During the first few months I was part of the administration department, but some months later I was able to apply for a new position as an HSE Technician. In fact, my profile was better suited to that position since I have a degree in Environmental Sciences and also a broad knowledge of accident prevention and safety at work. On top of that I had already possesed some experience in this field as well.
"Its aim is also to ensure that all the activities are carried out with the least environmental impact within the framework of sustainable development."
Occupational safety is an important and broad subject. What measures are essential for that?
A quality integrated management system has been implemented to accomplish our customers and employees needs and expectations. It covers and guarantees all the standard requirements regarding Health, Safety and the Enviroment through the application of different measures and the development of the necessary actions to prevent the workplace risks. Its aim is also to ensure all the activities are carried out with the minimum environmental Impact within the framework of sustainable development.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
An important part of my daily routine is to evaluate the work performed by our maintenance and operational staff. Not only checking the related documents, but also when the work is in progress, which means assesing the risks and establishing all the necessary measures in order to avoid accidents. When supervising works, workers are instructed and made aware about the importance of using their personal protective equipment correctly - that is what I take care of. Guaranteeing the compliance with work procedural measures is also part of the HSE department´s responsibilities. Another of our most important daily Tasks is also to check all the necessary documentation required for accessing to the plant, both for contractors and subcontractors, their workers and/or their machinery, as it is established in the current regulations regarding business activities coordination. An HSE program is followed and the programmed tasks are planned periodically, as agreed with management, in order to comply with the Integrated Management System. The obtained records are kept and archived in case there is a future inspection. The Environmental Monitoring Plan is also supervised by the HSE department by controlling possible spills, daily waste, and, once we evaluate the repercussions of our activity on the environment, we stablish the necessary measures in order to reduce its impact as is the case for birdlife or noise. We monitor our emissions into the atmosphere too, in order to comply with legislation and regulations by the environmental athority. Besides this, we provide support and help to the Plant Operational Department, and we review the compliance with current legislation and regulations. The HSE department is in charge of safety and environmental training and analyses incidents and accidents in this regard. In fact, we feel very proud of having developed and implemented a kind of special in-company training regarding HSE matters called Toolbox in which workers act as trainers in the past two years. By doing this, we made sure there is awareness and maximum involvement of workers in all matters related to safety, health and the environment.
What does the STEAG Family look like in Arenales?
I would say the STEAG Family in Arenales is a multidisciplinary team with a great deal of knowledge regarding Plant operation and maintenance. This team has been always willing to overcome any obstacle and despite its short trajectory it can be proud of its expert staff who have been able to solve and handle any kind of problem related to these types of industrial installations. Not only do we row together with a great sense of teamwork, trying to do our best when it comes to supporting each other but also I consider we are a receptive team always open to new ideas and suggestions.
What is the biggest difference in concerns of mentality if you compare your Spanish colleagues to the German ones?
It is difficult to give a good answer to this question, but as far as I am aware, although Germany is a point of reference for the rest of the Member States of the European Union and also at global level with regard to any issue, I do not currently see major differences between Spain and Germany as regards to safety and environmental issues. That is why I am proud to say that we are close to achieving and living up to their high standards of quality.