My career in health and safety really started after finishing my degree at Bristol University in 1973 and joining British Rail in their traffic management training scheme. As Assistant Station Manager at Basingstoke I was responsible for the health and safety of many staff who worked in a dangerous industry where safety rules were paramount. This led to me joining the Health and Safety Executive in its early days 1979 – for my first 3 years I was still known as an Inspector of Factories – the old title under the Factories Act.
Having had an enforcement background in the HSE, I saw many instances where people had suffered unnecessarily due to poor safety practices and I genuinely felt that I could actively help to reduce pain and suffering to vulnerable people through professional advice and assistance.
Establishing and successfully growing Safetyboss. I never intended it to be as large as it is today but events happened which enabled it to grow such as winning a large County Council contract for health and safety services.
As a Director for Safetyboss, I enjoy dealing with a wide variety of clients ranging from Schools to Factories, PFI and large blue chip companies – each brings its own unique problems and it is immensely satisfying to see these resolved by the advice and guidance I can provide.
Health and safety advice has become a big business over the last few years. Many persons have set up safety consultancies since 2000 when before the industry was in its embryonic stage with few consultants.
As a Chartered Fellow of IOSH, the professional recognition that this brings is a great business asset and gives confidence in the integrity of any advice given. IOSH provides support and assistance when required and it is important for all professional health and safety advisers to obtain Chartered status as more and more companies are asking for this qualification.
Ensuring the funding to the HSE is maintained so that they can receive adequate training and be professional in all their dealings with industry and commerce.
Take time to gain professional qualifications of merit. It is essential that anyone looking for a career tries to get practical experience of various industry sectors, tasks and procedures. I was extremely fortunate to receive intense training with the HSE across a range of industries without which it would have been very difficult to provide suitable advice – whilst this is hard for a young person to achieve, an internship and mentoring with a leading consultancy will give them the basic tools to progress in their career.
Highest point - heading up health and safety at the Bank of England with a team of 12 looking after 14,000 staff of all trades and professions including printers, bankers, scaffolders, engineers and woodworking machinists.
Lowest point – inspecting an underground boiler room for asbestos on a demolition site of an old hospital in the middle of an extremely cold winter and going through the ice, finishing up to my neck in icy water!