My first role in OHS

When recruiting people for HSEQ roles I often think about my first job in OHS in January 1989.

With absolutely no idea of what OHS meant I saw a role for an Occupational Health Nurse in a manufacturing site at Rooty Hill that required me to work during school hours only – oh bliss. With young children this was heaven sent. Initially, I was unsuccessful ( no experience) but was then asked to reapply and I got an interview. Wow how exciting!

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 to meet an equally friendly, chatty lady (HR Manager).  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. This was strange as I could not 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 the total ignorant!!!

Not knowing really why I was talking to the gardener, I made small talk congratulating him on how nice the garden looked and asked about the difficulty he had in keeping it green in the summer  etc. Can you image what he was thinking?  I also asked him about his family.  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? How wonderful and then realised I’d no idea what I was supposed to do and panic set in.

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