A day in the life of Diana Salmon
14 October 2015
Each issue HSM speaks to a member of the BOHS about the challenges and rewards of working as an occupational hygienist. This issue we talk to health, safety and wellbeing manager - and part time consultant - Diana Salmon.
How early do you rise?
Usually about 7.30am on a work day, unless I have an early start with a client, in which case it can be as early as 5am.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
A lot of motivation – I am SO not a morning person, I get better as the day goes on.
What do you do?
Monday to Wednesday I am employed on a job share basis, in a health, safety and wellbeing manager role. This works well as my part of the role favours safety and I favour health, so it’s the best job share team ever. I am responsible for the occupational health, health surveillance, health and wellbeing initiatives, as well as all the occupational hygiene activities - such as: noise and vibration monitoring; ergonomics (DSE assessments and manual handling); chemicals/dust; and managing stress.
On Thursdays and Fridays I run my own consultancy, covering the above areas but with a focus on training, particularly occupational hygiene related topics. This includes teaching the agents modules of the NEBOSH diploma for a well known training provider. I have a particular leaning towards ergonomics and dealing with psychosocial issues in the workplace. I don’t actively go out looking for the work, so I can be very busy or very quiet.
Where do you work?
My paid employment is for a large registered social landlord and provider of supported care, working across nine counties in the south of England. My consultancy is usually across the south too.
What does a typical day entail for you?
It is immensely diverse; I could be travelling up to London or over to Kent to deliver training, so I would need to be up early to ensure I was in the classroom in plenty of time before training starts. Alternatively I could have a mixed day where I could be: providing advice on chemical usage, then meeting with a staff member to go through the results of the HSE stress management tool; putting together an action plan; followed by DSE assessments; or writing up reports of noise monitoring; or even doing some face fit testing. There are usually meetings thrown in there too with anyone from a CEO, to a tradesman, or care workers. No two days are ever the same - it is the diversity that makes the role so enjoyable.
What is your favourite piece of work equipment?
My notebook and pen, despite having an iPad to record things; you can’t draw sketches, explain concepts, or scribble notes as quickly as you can with a notebook and pen.
What would you be lost without in work?
Probably the same as above, plus my diary, that’s where my iPad is useful! With having so much to do and each day being different and in different sites, without a good diary I’d never know where I was or what I was doing next.
When did you last laugh in work? What made you laugh?
Always laughing! My team and I get on really well and are always having a laugh. Laughter is a really good stress reliever and I positively encourage people to have fun. Last month I organised team fitness challenges in each of my offices: watching each team try to exercise with therabands during office hours was hilarious fun.
What is the best part of your day?
When I can see a person who has been able to return to normal work, after really struggling with pain (from poor posture) or a stress related issue; or the lightbulb moment in the classroom for one of the students who suddenly understands the ‘health’ bit of health and safety!
What advice would you give a person thinking of becoming an occupational hygienist?
Go for it, get in touch with BOHS to find out more, and find a hygienist to shadow. It is such a rewarding and varied job, you will not regret the career move.