Small Talk....with Hannah Milward
Why do you work in Health and Safety?
As an ‘ex nurse’ I survived some very dodgy work situations.. In a workplace where there is a strong duty to care for patients and their families, there was very little care for employees. In fact, personal safety risks, harassment and bullying were on my mind daily. These days, I work in health & safety (with organisations but also in the wider community) to make the world a better place.. Hopefully with more compassion and empathy. I believe that physical, mental, emotional ‘safety’ is a fundamental human need. We spend a great deal of our lives at work, the treatment and care we receive impacts everything and everyone outside of the workspace as well as within.
What do you see for the future of the health and safety profession?
I feel that the horizons of health and safety will broaden to encompass a more holistic approach. As more leaders begin to realize that humans do not ‘park’ their personal lives and emotions at the office door, (which is humanly impossible) and that safety must include negating negative impacts of bullying, harassment and violence as well as compliance around standard and well recognized issues (like confined spaces or working at height). A lack of focus or disengagement due to trauma may be invisible, but is equally as dangerous as fatigue due to shift work. I see the health and safety world and the wellness sector merging more and more. This really excites me!
What is an initiative you have been a part of or seen that you think really impacted safety culture?
I have developed a software as a service system that supports potentially vulnerable workers from many sectors.It has received great feedback from businesses and supports not for profit’s at our cost price, meaning workers that would otherwise be left without a safety system in place, can now have their safety and wellbeing acknowledged. http://www.verisafeworld.com/
Currently we are collaborating with leadership coaches to develop workshops and retreats that will help CEO’s, HR people and other safety advocates connect with their core purpose and develop strategies to improve empathy and trauma informed communication. We aim to help others with the tackling of bullying, harassment and family violence to make workplaces more supportive and pleasant places to spend a great deal of one’s life.
Share one of your favourite Health and Safety moments/memories
One of my favorite moments was receiving an email from NZ Victim Support following their pilot of Verisafe; ‘After positive survey feedback we wish to roll out the Verisafe system nationwide’. Being able to help within the victim services area, and knowing we can assist in reducing the stress and personal safety risks that their staff and volunteers are facing making home visits feels amazing. It was AMAZING receiving a 'highly commended award at the NSCA awards in 2017 and also being semifinalists in the sustainable business awards. Seeing our partnership with a Cambodian first aid and medic provider on the back of a tuktuk was also pretty awesome! Picking one is almost too difficult!
Connect with Hannah - https://www.linkedin.com/in/hannah-milward-10787443/