I didn’t always plan to have a career in health and safety. My friends and family are often bemused that there is actually a serious side to me. You see, I am a bit of a dare devil. Nothing too crazy, but I do enjoy equestrian sports and the odd day swinging from a tree at Go Ape.
So how did I end up here? How did I progress to be a chartered member of IOSH? About 9 years ago I was an active health and safety representative with the PCS union, the National Crime Agencies Trade Union. I really enjoyed identifying ways to make improvements in the workplace and soon became the national health and safety representative for the whole organisation. I worked very closely with the full time health and safety advisers making sure the views of the workforce were taken in to consideration when important decisions were made.
At the time of being a trade union representative I worked as an operational officer on an investigation team. I found myself working long hours and being away from home a good proportion of the time. One of the full time health and safety advisor’s, asked me if I’d ever thought about undertaking a NEBOSH qualification and working in H&S full time. I gave it some thought, and as I found the subject really interesting I enrolled on a local course.
After successfully completing my NEBOSH General Certificate a vacancy was advertised on the organisations intranet site. I was thrilled to get the job and having been “on the tools” I was able to have a real insight and influence over operational health and safety matters. It was the best job I ever had because every day presented a new challenge. Risk managing in law enforcement presents huge demands on the ability to problem solve and be a quick, methodical thinker. You can’t plan for everything in the faced paced, unpredictable world of crime. I was fortunate that my employer supported further qualifications such as NVQ L5 in Occupational H&S and a Train the Trainer Certificate.
After 5 years in the role and 22 years in public sector the opportunity came to take voluntary redundancy. For me it was a natural progression to setting up my own business. I wanted to take everything I’d learnt and apply to the private sector.
As a director of Safety Forward, the expertise I apply to all of my clients is all about planning and preparation. If you think ahead you can mitigate most risks to the lowest possible level. A different process involving new machinery or an inexperienced apprentice starting on the shop floor all warrant careful health and safety planning.
I really love the variation that every day brings. I now work with a variety of different industries such as manufacturing, engineering and construction. Safety Forward’s focus is definitely business growth and planning ahead for the future. We don’t just concentrate on the here and now but where the business will be in 5 years time.
Working in health and safety is definitely one of the most rewarding jobs possible. Everyday, I see great business benefits to putting health and safety high on the agenda. I have seen many of my clients win lucrative contracts on the back of having good health and safety systems in place. It is a real privilege to be that journey with them.
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