My first role in Occupational Health & Safety (OHS)

Sometimes when recruiting people for HSEQ roles I often think about my first job in OHS e safety in January 1989

I had absolutely no idea of what OHS meant but I saw a role that required me to work during school hours only – oh bliss. With young children this was heaven sent

The role was for an Occupational Health Nurse role in a manufacturing site at Rooty Hill. Well, with a background as a registered nurse I thought I’d give it a go. I thought there was no harm in trying but realistically knowing there was no hope

Initially I was advised I was unsuccessful as I had no experience but then was asked to reapply and I got an interview. Wow!

Turning up at the factory I was collected by a chatty Scottish man who spoke about his recent trip home to Scotland while walking me into the office. In the office I met up with the HR Manager who was also friendly and chatty. What a lovely morning I was having meeting so many nice people.

The HR person then introduced me to the Plant Manager and left the room. I thought this was really strange as I couldn’t figure out why they left me with the gardener and what a hoot that the company gave the gardeners such a fancy name!!!!

Yes I was that ignorant!!!

Not really knowing what I was supposed to say I started talking by congratulating him on how nice the garden looked and asked was it difficult for him to keep in green in the summer etc etc… can you image what he was thinking? I asked him about his family and we swapped stories about our kids- oh we had such a lovely talk and all the while I was wondering what in the heck I was doing talking to this man!

I finally left the site more confused then ever.

That afternoon I received a call saying I was successful and would I start the following Monday. I then realised I’d no idea what I was supposed to do and the panic set in.

When I finally met the “gardener” the following Monday at the start of the induction process he explained his role. He explained the reason I got the job was because he wanted someone with no preconceived ideas but the personality and drive to learn.

He said it was so obvious I had no idea what OHS was all about but he felt with training and support I may in fact become a very good OHS facilitator.

I shall always be indebted to this man and have put together a cartoon which tells the story with one look…

Cartoon - Personnel

My first role in OHS