My name is Alyssa Grocutt. Thank you for visiting my site!
I am a PhD candidate at Smith School of Business, Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Workplace safety is my passion within my studies and personal life. If you would like to learn more about my personal workplace safety experience that sparked my passion, please read below.
I was born and raised in the East Kootenays of British Columbia, Canada. As a child I lived a happy normal life with my two amazing parents. In 2007, my dad started working as a heavy duty mechanic in the oil sands in Northern Alberta. After about 10 months of my dad working there with a schedule of two weeks on, two weeks off, my parents decided we would move closer to my dad's job so we could all spend more time together. Everything was set and we were scheduled to move in July 2008.
On July 8, 2008 everything changed. My mom had just returned home that afternoon from visiting my dad and having an interview for a job in the area. She was making dinner for us when there was a knock on the door. Being 11 years old, I ran over to the door excited to answer it. I was shocked when I opened the door to find a police officer standing there. He was there to inform us that my dad had been fatally injured at work that morning, mere hours after my mom had left. Our lives were changed forever.
I am an only child and as a result have become extremely close with my mom since my dad's death. My mom has always kept a positive attitude towards life despite the struggles she has faced. She has taught me how to still enjoy life and make the most out of everyday, something my dad most certainly would have wanted. She is an incredible woman and I owe much of my success to her endless support.
My journey in promoting workplace safety started not long after my dad's tragic death. Returning to school in September 2008, entering grade six, I felt disconnected from all of my peers. It seemed as though people did not know how to interact with me anymore. I wanted to talk about my dad and his death, it helped me cope. However, it was hard when I tried to talk to my peers about it which is understandable, how are 11 year olds supposed to know what to say when one of their peers' parents dies. I tried to get a conversation about it going despite this and put together a presentation for my class on my dad, my life, and his death. No one asked any questions, but it made me feel better to tell my story.
In grade seven, I entered middle school, the same one my dad went to. I was still determined to communicate my story to anyone who would listen. I wanted to promote workplace safety especially to my peers who would undoubtedly enter the workforce one day and be confronted with safety issues. I began coordinating with the school to talk to classes on April 28th, the National Day of Mourning. My mom helped me reach out to WorkSafe BC and they were able to send me information pamphlets to hand out as well as sunglasses and keychains. I did this every year from grade seven (2010) to grade 12 (2015). And every year WorkSafe BC sent me pamphlets and swag to share with my peers which I am grateful for. I am also grateful for all of the teachers who welcomed me into their classrooms every year for me to talk to my peers about the importance of workplace safety and the consequences. I like to think that I made an impact.
I always said that I never wanted to be forgotten. I wanted to continue to share my story to promote safety in an effort to prevent more people having to experience the tragic death of a loved one. I was not entirely sure how I would continue my efforts after high school, but I knew I would never give up my passion for workplace safety.
I was fascinated with work and research so I decided to study Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology in University. My dad always said "Go Big or Go Home" which I must have taken to heart because when I decided this path at 15 years old, I already knew I wanted to do a PhD.
I was excited to leave my small hometown to head to university in the big city. I attended the University of Calgary and fell in love with the university and the city. Not to mention, my love for learning grew even more. Soon into my undergraduate degree it became apparent to me that I could pursue my passion for workplace safety in my studies. Within I/O Psychology there is workplace safety research, albeit a small amount. My future career manifested before me, it all fell into place and I knew I could use my education to promote workplace safety. I found my way to opportunities that allowed me to narrow in on my interests to research workplace safety and I have been doing that ever since.
And that is what brought me to where I am today. Starting with independent research projects in my undergraduate degree, my undergraduate honours thesis, my Master's thesis, and now my PhD, and all of the research projects in between have been focused on various aspects of workplace safety. I want to learn as much as I can through research on the causes and consequences of workplace safety incidents, injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. The existing research on workplace safety tells us much about the causes of safety incidents and injuries, but little about the consequences. I am very interested in understanding the consequences particularly for family members, colleagues, and managers of affected workers. I will be researching this during my PhD.
After my PhD, I want to continue my work on workplace safety and my dream is to continue to research workplace safety that informs practice. I am currently exploring options for how to do this and I welcome recommendations.
I would love any opportunities to speak about my personal experiences and research on workplace safety so if you have a speaking opportunity please do not hesitate to reach out to me. My contact information can be found below. And if you made it this far, thank you fro reading my story!