Who is Melony James?
I am a passionate Christian young lady who loves to share my passion for health and safety and labour relations with others. I also enjoy cooking and sampling food as well as travelling. I own my own consultancy - Dynamic 360 Support Services where we specialize in occupational safety and health, facilities management, construction project management, and labour relations.
What do you love most about what you do?
Occupational safety and health (OSH) is an avenue to do what I like best, which is to assist and develop others. The passion for this area stemmed from my genuine care for those I work with. I always seem to have my risks detecting eyewear on, therefore, on a daily basis I am ensuring that the workplace hazards that have been identified are reduced. Some days I am unable to address the issues because of the level of work and planning required, but at minimum, it is essential for me to communicate with staff to let them know what is happening around them. The part in health and safety I enjoy the most is staff engagement. Whether it is through the training sessions I host or the newsletter quizzes or wellness programs. I enjoy observing their interaction and understanding how they perceive my role and the importance of health and safety.
What made you decide to pursue a career in Health and Safety?
While in my final year at UWI Cave Hill Campus, I sat in a guest lecture by Mr. Harold Oxley under the topic, The importance of Health and Safety in the Workplace. This lecture was apart of my industrial relations (IR) class. While my classmates did not see the connection between OSH and IR, I did, and it sparked a fire within me. I reached out to Mr. Oxley after the lecture and inquired about volunteering at his business to gain a knowledge of the area. From there I was able to see the scope of OSH and occupational hygiene. I never thought I would be able to find a workplace to blend my two passions, but I found the perfect place at the Barbados Employers’ Confederation where I worked for 4 lovely years before leaving to work at Massy Distribution and then into consultancy with the Government of the British Virgin Islands and Virgin Limited Edition. While working with the Government, I saw the opening for an OSH Manager in an industry I had little experience in before and it wanted to take on the challenge. I applied and now I am the Manager at the BVI Electricity Corporation.
How would you describe your transition from Barbados to the British Virgin Islands?
Honestly, the transition was smooth because I had a colleague and friend who is local and was able to help me get all set up here. However, getting accustomed to the slower pace of work and business transactions here was very hard for me. It probably was God protecting me from myself. In Barbados, my work-life balance was non-existent. At one point I had a full-time job while lecturing and still developing my consultancy. I did all of this in my pursuit to share my passion and establish myself in the field of occupational safety and health. Due to the slower pace here, I am better able to juggle my commitments.
Any advice for those interested in pursuing this field?
Occupational safety and health, while very fulfilling, can be a challenge because it is an area that requires you to have a very strong backbone. However, if you are passionate about it, it’s like water rolling off a duck’s back. You would first want to do a certification program to gain the basic knowledge. I did my British certification via NEBOSH, however; you can also do a CVQ in OSH. If you wish to go further, you can continue to develop yourself in your niche area with additional certifications. Because OSH is a career that helps determine the life or death of your co-workers, I wholeheartedly support proper certification.
Tell us your most memorable achievements to date.
I have three memorable achievements to date. These are:
Writing and delivering two award-winning proposals to gain funding from the InterAmerican Development Bank (IADB) to provide training on OSH, Management, Road Safety and Human resources to employees of Barbados free of cost.
Working with Virgin Limited Edition, the property development and management company by owner Richard Branson to manage his private islands. To be esteemed by such a world-renowned institution to support the OSH management system was a proud moment for me.
Writing and publishing a quick guide to health and safety for the Government of the Virgin Islands which helps with the development of OSH management in the private sector.
What does success mean to you?
Success for me is truly the ability to overcome my obstacles. Sometimes the obstacle is me, being able to push myself outside of the limits that I may be comfortable with. It also means truly trusting in God to lead me to where I need to be in this life.