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Meet Millie, occupational hygiene officer

Published on: November 27, 2020

A career with a difference

At WorkSafeBC, workplace health and safety is at the core of what we do. This means that education, consultation, and enforcement are vital and ongoing responsibilities in building healthy and safe workplaces.

We sat down with Millie, an occupational hygiene officer, to learn more about her experience with WorkSafeBC and how she makes a difference in the lives of workers and employers in British Columbia.

What’s a typical day like as an occupational hygiene officer?

I conduct inspections and interviews with employers. It’s my job to identify risk, interpret the regulation, and apply it to workplaces to understand if there is a safety violation taking place.

How would you describe the work you do? What is your favourite part?

I describe myself as being a consultant and an educator, and I also have an enforcement role. I personally love the education and consultation side — I do my best to answer an employer’s questions and after an inspection I give them the appropriate resources to help them comply with the regulations and guide them to success. In the officer role, you need to guide and empower them to be successful.

How would you describe your professional relationships in this role?

The job is very independent but there are many people to turn to, and based on my experience, my colleagues are always happy to help. As a new officer, I am always bouncing ideas off of people and turning to them for support. The work I do involves a lot of post-inspection collaboration with other officers, and we do our best to meet regularly. For example, I’m part of a group of Fraser Valley occupational hygiene officers that meets four times a year to share our findings, and offer guidance and support to each other. I also have a mentor, a supervisor, and fellow officers that I can turn to.

What’s your most meaningful project since joining the team?

I wrote a stop-work order for a large steel manufacturer which had a huge impact on their production. It was an expensive fix and the employer initially had a hard time understanding it. I thought this would lead to a negative relationship but once he was in compliance, the employer expressed his sincere thanks and understanding of how much the safety culture of his workplace had improved.

What makes you stay at WorkSafeBC?

There are so many opportunities that I can grow into within the organization. I enjoy collaborating in my role, and I like to feel challenged to think on my feet. WorkSafeBC provides an opportunity to grow and learn and find challenges each day — while continually supporting me with training, education, and caring colleagues.

What qualities do you need to be successful at WorkSafeBC?

It’s important that you care about the workers and employers of B.C., and have a passion for health and safety. Our goal is healthy and safe workplaces, and to achieve that, we have to be respectful of an employer’s business while being consistent in the application of the rules that ensure workers and workplaces stay healthy and safe. It’s paramount to have empathy for the people you are working with, and it’s by making those connections, and showing that you respect and understand an employer’s business that you can motivate them to improve the health and safety in their workplaces.

How do you make a difference?

I make a difference by helping employers identify and control risks in the workplace before they become a hazard to workers. This keeps workers healthy and safe — and workplaces running smoothly in B.C.

What do you like to do in your free time when you are not working?

I love to cook and I’m into vegan and plant-based cooking. I am also interested in waste management and understanding more about how to properly dispose of waste. I love tree planting and environmental preservation is something I am also passionate about.

WorkSafeBC is hiring occupational hygiene officers. If you share our passion for workplace health and safety and want to be part of a team of professionals helping employers prevent occupational disease and disability, we want to hear from you. To learn more about a career as an occupational hygiene officer, visit our careers page.

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