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Behind the Mask: Kayla Smith, Vogtle 3&4 People Based Safety Facilitator

Photo of Kayla Smith with and without her mask
Kayla Smith, People Based Safety (PBS) Facilitator, at Plant Vogtle 3&4

Editor’s note: “Behind the mask” is a series to help you get to know some of the Southern Nuclear team.

Name: Kayla Smith
Job title: People Based Safety (PBS) Facilitator
Department: Safety
Site: Plant Vogtle 3&4

How long have you been with the company and/or in this current role?

I’ve been with the company for five years. I spent four years in Maintenance as a Mechanic, and I have been the site’s People Based Safety (PBS) Facilitator and the Safety Committee Chair since January 2020.

Give us a brief description of your job duties:

I recruit and train individuals for participation in the PBS program. I own and manage the site’s peer-to-peer observation database and assist our site Safety Coordinator, Aaron Henson, in activities associated with the site’s safety performance. I am also the site Safety Committee Chair. I arrange plant walkdowns with members of craft as well as leadership, assist in efforts to make positive changes in work conditions that are directly associated with safety in our plant and maintain communication between all levels of the organization on the status of issues that are identified.

What is your favorite part about your job?

The interaction that I get to have with different groups on site from our Southern Nuclear personnel to the construction craft is probably my favorite. I love getting to meet new people and seeing things from the perspective of others. It allows me to step outside of my comfort zone and learn something every day. I enjoy being involved and lending a hand whenever possible.

What do you want to do next (job, role, team, department, special assignment, etc.)?

I have really enjoyed my time in Safety. I’ve seen a lot of interesting things, and I have learned a lot in a short amount of time. I would love to spend more time learning not only about construction safety as we finish building the plant, but the industrial safety aspects of this job as well. Benchmarking at one of the AP1000 plants in China would be a cool experience to compare their nuclear safety culture to our culture and standards.

Why do you like working in the nuclear industry?

I enjoy being in nuclear because the work we do is so different from what most people in our area do for a living. It’s unique and always evolving to become better.  

What misconception about nuclear power do you most want people to understand?

Most people believe that nuclear power is not safe. The safety record for nuclear power is unmatched by other energy sources. Safety is ingrained in the culture of every nuclear power plant.

If you wear a special mask, why did you choose the one in the picture?

I don’t have a special mask. Most of the time I have on whatever mask I can find. This one was made by my nail tech when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic started, and it is the most comfortable one that I have.  

What have you learned as a result of or gained from the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting safety precautions?

I’ve seen the way people come together for the greater good. I’ve seen how people show up to help others, despite everyone having extra on their plates throughout this pandemic. Seeing how people have united despite differences, just to help each other, has been amazing.

What has been the hardest part for you about it?

Things just aren’t normal. I miss being able to enjoy live music, concerts and eating out, but most of all I miss traveling.

What are your hobbies or favorite past times?

When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family, working out and yoga. I love being outside and traveling. 

Do you have a motto, theme or favorite quote that you try to live by?

Be nice.