For World Environmental Health Day 2023, we invited members to share their experiences of working in environmental health and what it means to protect public health.
As a regulator, trainer, consultant, senior safety leader, lecturer and operator, both in the UK and abroad, I have seen how Environmental Health makes a difference in so many ways. Now, as Head of Environmental Health at Shield Safety, I support organisations to understand and improve their safety performance and culture, ranging from single site operators to the largest retail and hospitality names in the country. Every day I still get a buzz knowing that the Shield Safety team are making a difference, little by little the world is a safer place through the knowledge and actions taken by our team of amazing EHPs.
Don’t be a rocking horse
Throughout this varied and exciting career I have always reminded myself and others not to be a rocking horse, but why a rocking horse? Simple, a rocking horse moves but doesn’t make any progress. The energy we give and the time we spend must make a difference, we must move forward and we must make things better. For me now, this means that every visit undertaken by our EHPs helps businesses understand what they are doing well and what needs to be better. This information is then rolled up to give an organisation-wide view, identifying common issues and underlying causes, meaning the head office can make a difference efficiently across multiple locations. The Consultants and Safety Advice Line Team, all experienced EHPs, support businesses daily with guidance and insight. We are all proud to be EHPs, we are proud that we make a difference, and we are proud to be friends of the human race. Not a rocking horse in sight, only thoroughbreds!
I believe that making a difference also means providing support for future generations of EHPs. Those outside of the profession need to know how rewarding and interesting the multiple facets of being an EHP are. There need to be opportunities for those pursuing a career in Environmental Health. Early on in my career I benefitted from the support of inspirational EHPs. They showed an interest in my learning and encouraged me to take every opportunity. For those of us who benefitted from that support, I believe it is now our responsibility to do the same. This might be for those who have yet to know about environmental health and could hear about our profession for the first time through a talk at a careers fair. It might mean supporting those who have committed time and money to university and are looking for their first role or training opportunity, or someone who has qualified and would benefit from an experienced mentor. There are so many opportunities to support the next generation, to make a difference to them individually and to ensure that Environmental Health is still here and making a difference for years to come.
If you would like to learn more about environmental health and becoming an EHP, visit our What is EH? webpage or if you would like to write a blog about your EH experience, please email [email protected].