Spotlight on: Sonya Watson

Sonya WatsonQ&A with Sonya Watson,

IMB Occupational Health & Safety Manager


How long have you been with IMB?

I started work at the IMB in October 2016. However, working as an OHSE Manager with CSIRO in the early 2000’s meant I was involved in the final design and fit-out of the QBP along with UQ staff, and I was then based in the building on opening.

What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?

One of the interesting things about working in safety is that there is no typical day and no two days are the same. With the breadth of the OHS Manager’s role comes the challenge of providing specialist advice on chemical safety, biological hazards, ethics, radiation… but in essence my day involves applying my knowledge to help staff and students work safely in a laboratory setting.

My internet search history may flag with the ‘spooks’ though, as I have been known within the space of an hour to research disposal methods of depleted uranium, accessing agents of bioterrorism and restricted drugs and poisons!

Currently I’m catching up on things after a number of weeks at the end of last year were spent preparing and conducting regulatory audits.  My next big project is the release of new, streamlined induction processes at the IMB for new starters – watch this space!

What aspects of your role do you enjoy the most?

I like the diversity of the OHS Manager’s role the most, and the feeling that I can contribute in small part to making people’s working lives safer, positively impact on their health, and support further exciting research in the life sciences. With a life-long interest and background in applied science and safety, I love that I can be employed in a specialised role doing ‘science safety’.

What can’t you live without?

I unfortunately discovered recently, when my home iPhone literally went into melt down, that my life is much more challenging without all that lives inside that device.

How did you get started in your area of work/field?

Ironically it was accidental! After completing a Bachelor of Applied Science with a double major and double minor priming me for further post-graduate study and career as a dietitian, I had a change of heart. At the last minute, I changed my preferences for a graduate degree in Safety … and never looked back.

Tell us something about yourself that may surprise us?

I was a semi-professional ballet dancer in my younger days! And I still fantasise about becoming a V8 supercar driver!!!

Last updated:
1 February 2018