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A day in the life of Ruth Mullan

08 June 2021

Each issue HSM puts the spotlight on a health and safety worker by speaking to a member of the British Safety Council about the challenges and rewards of working in this field. This time we speak to Ruth Mullan.

What is your job, and where do you work?

I am the Head of Membership, Awards and Events at the BSC and I mostly work from a desk in my kitchen with occasional visits to the BSC office in Hammersmith.

What motivates you to get out of bed on a workday?

My family, a desire for my team to be successful and achieve our goals, the knowledge that I get to work for an organisation that advocates for positive change and makes a real difference.

What does a typical day entail for you?

A typical day for me will start with strong cup of coffee. I’m an early riser and I like to check my emails and schedule before it’s all hands-on deck when my toddler and puppy rise. 

One of the best things about working in membership is that no two days are ever the same! I have a small and very enthusiastic team and our work varies from developing initiatives to support peer to peer engagement, researching and developing strategy, delivering the annual awards cycles, developing events and webinars, reviewing platforms to support more intuitive user experiences, meeting external supplies, amongst many other things. 

Since January, I have a 30 minute walk no matter how busy my day is, this is something I also strongly encourage my team to do as we could probably all do with a bit more vitamin D!

What is the top priority on your work agenda at the moment?

At the BSC, we know that our key strength is our global membership community and a key focus for this year is improving our member experiences. We have been busy revamping the member proposition, which includes additional tools and resources to support best practice. Another key focus has been on developing the Sector Interest Groups and our annual programme of events. Our first virtual conference will be held in October 2021 and we will be sharing more info on this soon!

Another top priority for us is improving our member data and insight. As part of this work all members have been invited complete an annual survey. If you haven’t already completed the survey, please do so as your views are invaluable to us and help us ensure that you have the resources and tools that you need to keep your workplaces and colleagues safe.

What skills are key to your role?

Multi-taking and the ability to prioritise, listening and effective communication, being able to build relationships with others and appreciate different viewpoints, the ability to think strategically and drive change, collaboration, creativity, and a healthy interest/borderline obsession with data.

What route did you take to working in the field of H&S? 

I have worked in the charity sector for the past 15 years. My background was in international development and I had the privilege of working in some truly fantastic places such as Ethiopia, India, and Palestine. For the last ten years I’ve mainly worked in the healthcare sector and I just recently joined the BSC 6 months ago. 

One of the things that really appealed to me about the health and safety sector was how broad it is as well as its relevance across all other sectors. I’ve really enjoyed meeting with all of our members and sector experts and looking forward to understanding and learning more about it going forward. 

What advice would you give a person thinking of working in the health and safety industry?

Go for it! Take the time to do your research, find the areas that interests and suits your skills set most. I’m new to this sector and I’m learning new things every day. It’s also probably worth speaking to some people in the sector and hearing about their experiences too.

When did you last laugh in work? What made you laugh?

My last meeting about five minutes ago. The BSC has a great team and It wouldn’t be possible to get through a meeting and keep a straight face. It was actually one of my first observations when I joined and feel it’s still true. No matter how serious a meeting is there is always time for some jokes, and I think it’s really helped people stay connected and relieve stress in the last year of working remotely.

What is the best part of working in your field?

No one day is ever the same. The people are fantastic and there is always more to learn. 

What do you see as the biggest challenges to health and safety at work currently?

Covid and in particular its impact on mental health and wellbeing. As we all move to hybrid models of working, I think this its going to be really important to make space for regular check ins with colleagues, particularly those that are experiencing difficult times and ensure people feel connected.