10 QUESTIONS WITH… LOUISE HOSKING
Each month, we ask a health and safety professional 10 Questions. This month, we chatted to Louise Hosking, Director Hosking Associates and IOSH Vice-President.
for success rather than something which confines and restricts business. There’s still so much negativity around our role which means we are not attracting the right people to the industry; it holds us back and makes our work more difficult than it should be. We also need to promote greater diversity within our profession.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB? I had a paper round when I
was 13, and from 15 worked in the paper shop at weekends. My first graduate position was as a district environmental health officer for Cambridge City Council in 1991.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE HEALTH AND SAFETY
INDUSTRY? At sixth form, I completed a careers questionnaire and it churned out 100+jobs which might suit me based on my A-Levels. Ironically, number one was Health & Safety Officer! After graduating, I moved into the private sector quite quickly which is how I gradually moved from food safety into health & safety.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY SUPERPOWER FOR A DAY,
WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY? I’d have the ability to suck waste plastic out of our oceans to prevent it from poisoning our eco-system and entering the food chain. I love sailing and it’s horrifying to see the amount of broken waste plastic on secluded beaches.
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO IMPROVE THE HEALTH AND
SAFETY INDUSTRY? We need to change the perception of what we do. I see it as a positive drive
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE TO
SOMEONE NEW COMING INTO THE PROFESSION? Work alongside people, listen to your instincts and hone your business skills. Know your law, keep up to date, write well and create practical risk assessments with the people they affect. Be part of the team you are serving, and do foundation work like risk/COSHH assessments really well. Be kind when delivering difficult messages, but don’t avoid difficult people or situations. Go to your local IOSH branch meetings for peer support.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO COMBAT NEGATIVE
ATTITUDES TO HEALTHY AND SAFETY? I strongly believe this comes from us first. We need to be better all-round managers. If we are positive, use positive language, and encourage positive behaviour, then perception changes.
IF YOU COULD HAVE A DINNER PARTY WITH ANY
THREE PEOPLE, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD THEY BE AND WHY? Michelle Obama, she is a huge inspiration to women around the world, and a positive female role model.
Barak Obama as he has been such a strong advocate of people-focused change. I’d love to hear how he found working with other global leaders.
Finally, James Cordon because we’d have a laugh as well as talking about some serious stuff too.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR THE
HEALTH AND SAFETY INDUSTRY? I hope it will involve new, young, business-focused people coming into the industry. There is work going on with new apprenticeships which I think is fantastic. ISO 45001 is now here, so organisations will be looking to align their existing quality standards to this. OSH professionals will need to adapt to support their organisations in mental health wellness, and work with HR colleagues to safely bring people back into the workplace after illness or injury.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WON THE LOTTERY?
Invest a chunk of money into my business to hire the right people in the right places, so we can help everyone who needs the type of practical support we provide, especially start-ups, so it becomes part of their DNA as they grow.
I’d spend longer summers sailing with my husband and I’ve always wanted to cycle from Lands End to John O’Groats, so I would do that too.
BANYARD SOLUTIONS’ SIMON OLLIFF ASKED:
WHY DO YOU THINK HEALTH STATISTICS ARE GETTING WORSE OVER TIME? This is an article in its own right Simon! Managing health is currently more challenging. We can see safety issues, so we know what to do in order to manage it. I think the main reason is we know more about what’s going on.
Developing countries are focusing on their industrial development which means there is a lag, and globally too, many people are being exposed to hazardous substances in terrible conditions.
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