Health & Safety Industry Today

H&S assessor overcomes ME to achieve a career landmark

Julia Fielder, an H&S assessor at SHE Knows Health & Safety in Hull, has defied a debilitating illness to achieve a top professional qualification.
Published 27 February 2014

Ms Fielder, who has worked for SHE Knows Health & Safety for more than seven years, has become a Chartered Member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (CIMOSH). In the process, the health and safety NVQ assessor has successfully managed to combine her day-to-day work with extra studying and travel while coping with myalgic encephalopathy (ME).

The 44-year-old from Leven, East Yorkshire, is already an IOSH affiliate member, and has added a host of professional qualifications including an NVQ level 5 diploma in health and safety. Gaining the CIMOSH accreditation is a challenging process involving a stringent peer review by an IOSH panel, as well as exams and interviews and a record of continuing professional development. “I’m ecstatic to have gained the accreditation,” said Julia, who works a flexible, part-time 16 hours a week.

Because having ME means Julia can’t always do what she wants, SHE Knows Health & Safety help tailor her job accordingly and most of her assessments are on a one-to-one basis, rather than to a group of trainees, which she finds very tiring. “ME is a strange one – I look all right, but I can feel absolutely awful inside. My legs, head and back have a constant aching pain that makes it feel like I’m being crushed by a bus, and I can be uncoordinated when I move,” adds Ms Fielder.

Supported by walking sticks or a wheelchair she works a lot from home or travels to see her NVQ candidates. “We have to be very selective about where I work and who for, and that it’s not too big a job. The majority of my assessing work is for clients in the Humber area, but I also go to Birmingham and London for conferences and exhibitions. “I’m really appreciative of how the company has worked around my problems, and how I’m asked what I think I can manage, keeping me going and taking care of my emotions.

Linda Crossland-Clarke, managing director of Hull-based SHE Knows Health & Safety, said: “As an H&S practitioner becoming a chartered member is something that we all work towards. It provides real recognition of competence in the eyes of the law. “On its own this would be a career landmark, but as Julia suffers from ME and is often wheelchair bound there is an added sense of achievement and success.” Before joining SHE Knows Health & Safety, Julia worked for Ideal Standard in Hull as a team leader for 20 years and has never been out of work. SHE Knows Health & Safety operates through the UK and abroad, including in the Middle East and Africa. The company holds the ‘two ticks’ commitment to positiveity about disability.

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