Recognising Women in Safety - An Interview With Bridget Gilmour

by Danielle Stallard

Today is International Women’s Day and is an opportunity to embrace the many successes and achievements of women all over the world. At The HSE Recruitment Network we actively support and encourage diversity in the workplace, so feel that there is no better time for us to reflect upon the successful career of Bridget Gilmour.

Founder and director of Hundred Acre (GB) Ltd., Bridget is a proactive and dedicated professional within the health and safety community. Having recently been granted Chartered Fellow status from IOSH, Bridget has a growing list of achievements and is an outstanding advocate for all that is health and safety (she just also happens to be a woman!)

We asked Bridget for an honest overview of her career to date and how she has reached the height of her success:

Why did you first take an interest in health and safety?

I am a second generation safety engineer and grew up around safety. When I graduated, the first full time job I got was as a safety engineer and it has gone from there.

What do you enjoy most about the work that you do?

The variety - no two days are the same and I never know what is coming next. My world is never boring.

If you could be in any other profession, what would it be?

Something that involves lots of travel. I love my job and the world in which I work and I cannot really imagine doing something else. I have been privileged that I have worked in other countries in my safety world, though travelling more would be a dream.

As a recent CFIOSH, how have your qualifications helped you in your career?

My qualifications have given me an amazing foundation for my career. I am a graduate engineer and I have a PgC in Occupational Health and Safety Management. There are a lot of processes and systems in health and safety, and also in all that I have studied so similarities crop up a lot.

Achieving CFIOSH was a very personal aspiration of mine for many years. Achieving the status involved a huge amount of personal reflection and at the same time, allowed me to reflect on my achievements. CFIOSH was far more for me, more than for others.

Do you think public perception has changed during your time as a health and safety professional?

In the 20 years I have worked full time in health and safety, I think a significant change is that there actually is now a public perception of health and safety. I don’t like what I hear from many I meet, as there is so much misunderstanding of what health and safety is. I aspire to a time when everyone understands that there is no ’No’ in legislation and that health and safety is about every mother, daughter, father and son getting home at the end of the day in the same physical and mental state as they arrived. In recent months I have noticed though that more people share my thoughts, which is wonderful. Now we have to work to spread those thoughts further.

As someone who is an advocate for women in safety, what can be done to attract more women to the industry?

When I attended my first Women in Health and Safety Forum last year the biggest thing I noticed was that there was not one occasion in the discussions we had where being ‘women’ was mentioned. The discussions we had were about the work we do, the challenges we all encounter and supporting each other to do more. If we focus on this and shout from the rooftops about the wonderful world in which we work and the impact we make on the lives of many, that would encourage others to join our profession. Why would others not want to work in that world?

Bridget Gilmour is an experienced second generation safety practitioner; a graduate engineer, a Chartered Fellow of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), a professional member of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) and an OSHCR registered consultant.

Safety is the only full time job Bridget has ever had; working in a variety of different roles and environments. She has been a consultant for over 15 years and is founder and director of her own successful consultancy, Hundred Acre (GB) Ltd.

Bridget is passionate about working with businesses to keep everyone healthy and safe, engaging with everyone at every level in each business. An active member of IOSH and the CSSE Bridget is a volunteer, mentor, and safety champion whenever possible.

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