This week Our People visits Technical Services Auckland, to find out more about the medical waste plant and the anchor that holds it together, Operations Supervisor Medical Sai Paterson.
How long have you been at Waste Management?
I’ve worked at TS Auckland for eight years but have been involved with Waste Management for much longer. I used to work at Auckland District Health Board, and for 11 years in that role helped coordinate waste collection with WM.
What led you to this career?
I started my career at Greenlane hospital, working in maintenance. I was approached to see if I was interested in working in the waste department and accepted knowing it would be a challenge.
What do you do in a typical day?
I lead and manage the medical waste team at Technical Services. Prior to the COVID epidemic, I would start the morning with a quick team catchup to make sure there were no major issues that needed my urgent attention. I distributed tasks to the team and touched base with dispatch to make sure we had no transportation or delivery issues. I would then attend to my admin tasks and meetings where needed.
COVID has changed everything. Like everyone, we are struggling with labour shortages, and there has been an unprecedented jump in general medical waste. It means I have had to change my normal day around and help as an operator in the plant.
What is the best part of your role?
The best and most rewarding part is being able to develop my team members and help them thrive within Waste Management. We are a close-knit team and it’s always good to see happy faces in the plant and high morale.
What are you most proud of about working at Waste Management?
I would say it is what we have achieved during COVID. As a team we have done the mahi. We have had some extreme challenges and have had to think outside the box to make sure customers get the service they need, when they need it. We’ve met high demands as a team. My branch manager Daniel Coleman, the hazardous team, drivers, maintenance and dispatch all rolled up their sleeves and helped in medical when demands were very high. They all had their own workloads but were able to spare whatever free time they had to offer. This shows our Waste Management Value – Together and Technical Services does this very well.
What are some of the challenges you face in your role?
COVID is the biggest challenge I’ve had to face in all my time working in the medical waste environment. Labour shortages have been very tough, and midnight shifts have been necessary to get through the backlog. It’s been a challenge staying calm during very testing times!
What are you currently excited about in your job?
I am excited to welcome new staff members and train them to use the Rotoclave (sterilisation machine) and Daniels Sharpsmart Washline (which washes Daniels Sharpsmart containers). This will let me step away from being an operator and focus on other tasks.