A Day in the life of Debbie Turner, Asset Integrity Inspector

17 Sep 2021

As we reach the end of Gas Safety Week, we caught up with Asset Integrity Inspector Debbie Turner who plays an essential role in ensuring the continuing safety of the gas infrastructure assets we own.  

Speaking about her role, which takes her all over the UK, Debbie tells us why inspection is so important to safety and the pride she takes in her work.

A bit of background….
Firstly, I’m really proud of my job as it goes to the heart of Fulcrum’s values, which has keeping everyone safe at the forefront.  Inspection is so important as it ensures the integrity of our utility networks and ensures compliance and ultimately the safety of our utility assets.

I’ve been with Fulcrum since 2002 – and loved every minute of it!  I started my career providing admin support in the gas division.  With the company’s support, I went through a lot of training and gained a range of NVQs in different disciplines that allowed me to progress into new roles, including, most recently a City & Guilds in gas mains for service manager, which I achieved last year.  This supported professional development enabled me to work in the gas design team and latterly the Group’s utility asset business, Fulcrum Pipelines, which I’ve been with since 2009.  The majority of my work has been office-based until 2019 when I had the opportunity to take on my current job, which is very much in the field!

What’s a typical day for you?
My role involves going to site to inspect any of Fulcrum’s critical utility assets, which takes me all over the country.  I could be anywhere from Aberdeen in the north to Cornwall in the south.  It certainly makes for a varied working life.  We have quite a few sites in London, so I tend to plan my trips there to cover a few days at a time.  This was certainly interesting during the pandemic! On the downside I was living off porridge pots in the hotel room as nothing was open.  However, as a keyworker I could carry out my essential safety inspections. 

My role includes undertaking routine inspections of critical assets to ensure that they are compliant with Gas Safety Regulations and to highlight if any remedial works are required, advising relevant parties of any work that need to be done.  If it’s a site that’s under development it may be the developer we liaise with or, in the case of a closed site, such as a Multiple Occupancy Building, it would involve liaising with building managers. 

Once an inspection has been completed and logged, we can assess how often a reinspection will be required through a risk-rating as well as recommending any maintenance or remedial works that could be required.

I’m not aware of many women doing this technical role in the utility industry, but that hasn’t been a barrier for me.  I am noticing more and more women on the sites I visit, which is really positive for the construction and utilities industries. I’ve never had any issues when I am on site, as I am confident in my ability, expertise and experience, which is respected by the people I meet when I visit sites all over the country.

Finally, what’s the best thing about working for Fulcrum?
I can’t believe how quickly 19 years has gone.  That’s because I really enjoy my job and working at Fulcrum.  I have been in Fulcrum’s utility asset team for a long time now, so my colleagues are more than that, they are friends and like a family.  If I’m on site I’m never alone as I always have them available to me for support, advice or just a chat!  I absolutely love my job and I am proud to say I work for Fulcrum, which helps me want to succeed and achieve more.