Tulshi has a unique profile which spans both government and industry
Q - How did you get into health and safety?
A - I worked as a project manager in safety standards development after I left manufacturing. I worked with safety experts across Canada and around the world to develop these safety standards. I was really inspired by their passion and dedication to protect people. I worked on safety regulations at the Ontario Ministry of Labour and now as an OHS consultant in the insurance industry. Working for an NGO, the Ontario government and now industry gives me a 30,000-foot view as well as a grassroots perspective of safety, which I think is really unique.
Q - What do you like most about being a health and safety professional?
A - The best part of being a health and safety professional is being able to protect people first, but businesses as well. Being able to help protect people is a very noble cause. I don't think there are too many professions that are able to make that claim. The work that I do helps to reduce injuries and in a very measurable way. In my world, I see that when I help an organization with a safety program or consulting on a specific safety initiative, that can result in reduced injuries over time and means that the business may end up paying less insurance premiums. It’s unfortunate, however, that many businesses still don't see that connection between protecting their people and the wellness of the business.
Q - How do you promote safety outside of work?
A - In many ways, but definitely with my family. I often talk about safe driving behaviours with my 13- and 15-year-old during road trips. Teaching is another way I promote safety. What I like to do is use real-life examples from my experience, to bring the teaching material to life for my students so they can appreciate how important safety is and the consequences of unsafe behaviours.
Q - What motivates you to do your best at work every day?
A - Professionally, I believe that there is a very small window to impress my stakeholders. So, I try my best to put out my best work. With the COVID pandemic, I think businesses are going to be looking for efficiencies and a competitive edge wherever they can find it. Personally, I am motivated by the memory of my cousin who died in a steam boiler explosion in the ’80s in Guyana, where I was born. A safety gauge malfunctioned due to lack of maintenance, steam built up to unsafe levels and boom! With severe burns all over his body, his death was slow and painful. I never want someone else to go through that! His survivors included two very young daughters. I feel like I honour his memory whenever I promote safety.
A shorter version of this article originally appeared in the Nov/Dec 2020 issue of COS.