Day in the Life

Health Physicist

  • Name:Emma O’Mara
  • Location:Devonport
  • Sector:Nuclear

My favourite part of the job:

The best part of my job is working across the entire Vanguard class submarine team, finding out about all the work we’re doing and making sure we do it safely. It’s very cool getting to go on board the submarine regularly.

Most challenging thing I’ve ever done:

My biggest challenge to date was delivering a research paper to an audience of over 300 people at an international conference in Geneva. It was a little nerve-racking, but it was a very positive experience.

My typical day:

My job focuses on working safely with radiation. Just like with working at heights, or with chemicals, there’s a potential for hazards when working with radiation. So I make sure we protect the people and the environment.

I start my day with a morning meeting with my team, catching up on what happened on the previous shift and planning for the rest of the day. Physicist working on site taking notes.

I’m responsible for ensuring all Vanguard class submarine facilities comply with radiation protection regulations. I do this by getting out and about to speak to people who are using the facilities and carrying out spot checks.

My day-to-day role involves managing the people who supervise the work with radiation and take radiation measurements. I develop and deliver training and provide technical support to those who want to work with radiation, advising on the protocols required.

I meet with stakeholders in Vanguard class submarine refit and refuel, to discuss facility improvements. Here, I make sure people understand why we need to make changes and get consensus from all stakeholders.

I’m really passionate about increasing participation in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), especially for young women. I’m a STEM ambassador and Chair of Women in STEM Plymouth, supporting women currently in STEM roles. Babcock is very supportive and even hosts Women in STEM events.