Pathfinder International has been championing Veteran Owned Business in the latest issue, this included a chat with Brett Townsley and Omniscient Safety Innovations…
Brett Townsley served 7 years in the Royal Navy before going on to form Omniscient Safety Innovations – offering solutions in mental health for the work environment. Here, Brett talks about his resettlement and his business a little more…
Tell us a little about your military career?
“I served 7 years in the Royal Navy fleet Air Arm in the survival branch, with operational deployments with the Intelligence Exploitation Force Afghanistan and onboard HMS Kent.”
How did you find resettlement?
“Resettlement was a reasonably simple and smooth transition, I was very fortunate in that the training I did during my career transition period, my NEBOSH general certificate led to a role within health & Safety in the oil and gas industry. I moved back home to Aberdeen and very quickly climbed the ranks to senior management roles. ”
Tell us about Omniscient, where did the inspiration come to set this up?
“The inspiration was twofold, having known other veterans who were experiencing mental health issues through trauma or difficulties in transitioning out of service and also through many accident investigations in the offshore environment.
It was clear to me that we were not yet at the point of clarity on the impacts of mental health on safety or performance or even able to openly discuss this due to stigma. So we began to look at systemic preventative solutions that reduce the likelihood of the largest contributor to absenteeism in the UK (12.8 million lost days) through anxiety, work related stress and depression, using the organisational data to accurately identify the emotional hazards.
Now Omniscient Safety Innovations Ltd support some major organisations in development of these solutions and create healthier, happier workforce cultures that are more productive, creative and with significantly lower costs.
Currently the most conventional method for duty of care is to provide employee assistance programs, however these are reactive measures and heavily dependent upon the individual to recognise the issue themselves and be willing to seek treatment, we know this is not always effective.
It is far more beneficial to tackle the root cause and prevent people becoming ill. We have also been working with academic partners on AI disruptive technology systems to help in support of these solutions and hope to have a beachhead product released in early 2022.”
How important is it that we address mental health in both the workplace and in society?
“It is massively important as mental health is something we all have, and poor mental health not only affects our general physical and mental wellbeing which is cause enough to have more practical solutions in place, but With 1 in 4 people currently presenting mental health issues and let’s be clear these figures only represent those that have sought medical support, there many more suffering in silence due to stigma or fear of repercussions (lose of job etc) how can we not address this?
Mental health issues lead to poor decision making, confusion, distraction, and inability to focus so in terms of workplace its clear the impacts it has on performance. More than this, employers have a moral and legal duty of care for staff and mental harm from emotional hazards does fall under HASAWA and we as human beings have a duty of care for each other.”
Omniscient signed the Armed Forces Covenant, tell us a little about your commitment to this and what it means to sign it?
“It was a real monumental moment for everyone at OSi and as a veteran it was a personal achievement. It’s important to OSi as we are at heart a veteran owned business and are committed to providing opportunities and services to the Armed Forces community. Having been provided opportunities to become successful in the civilian world personally, the team and I want to give back as much as possible and help others on the first steps on the path to success, whether that’s in service through mental health solutions or the transition to civvy street through job opportunities and training.”
You offer distance learning, tell us a little about this and could this be the way forward post COVID19?
“We identified early on at the start of the COVID19 pandemic that there was a need to provide our services remotely, so we adapted quickly and now can provide many of these elements, especially our training remotely. This actually sits well with many of the environments we currently work in such as the offshore or marine industries. We have recently landed significant blue-chip clients that have identified the gap and need for our services. Many are realising that remote working may well become the new normal, this presents huge benefits but also significant challenges and manage these effectively you need the right approach and tools that’s where OSi’s support comes in.”
For more details on Omniscient Safety Innovations please see www.omniscientsafetyinnovations.com/
Read the full Vetentrepreneurs listings in the August issue of Pathfinder HERE