10 Questions with Louise Hosking
Each month, Tomorrow’s Health & Safety magazine asks a health and safety professional 10 Questions. Louise Hosking, Director Hosking Associates and IOSH Vice-President, explains how she got into the industry and why she thinks attracting the right new people is key to moving forward.
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.
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 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’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 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.
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Louise Hosking is Director of Hosking Associates, and VP of IOSH