• Environmental pollution pic
    Environmental

    The First Step to a Career in Environmental Management

    I can’t believe that I have been working as an environmental management consultant and trainer for twenty years. Much like a professional footballer who is playing in his early thirties (I wish) I have achieved veteran status! My career has had its up and downs over the years. But I do not regret it for one minute. When considering the content for this post I thought I would identify what can be more challenging from my experience than carrying out a job. And that is getting a job in environmental management in the first place. The problem is that in competitive job markets, in order to be successful you need…

  • Health & Safety

    Thinking About a Career in Health and Safety?

    Careering into it As a health and safety tutor I routinely meet people who already work in the field of occupational health and safety (OHS). And one thing that always strikes me is that they are a diverse bunch with a very wide range of ages, educational backgrounds, workplaces and work/ life experiences. From 21 to over normal retirement age. From left school at 16 with diddly-squat to PhDs in biomechanical engineering. From building society office to offshore oil and gas platform. From none at all to 35 years in the chemical engineering and manufacturing industries. And some of them have had life experiences that have made the hairs on…

  • Health & Safety

    New Year’s Resolution; Less Harry Potter, More Gordon Gekko

    It has become something of a tradition in our household to do a Harry Potter marathon (of sorts) over Christmas. i.e watch all eight films over eight consecutive evenings over the festive period. My daughters grew up with Harry. My youngest’s impression of Moaning Myrtle is exceptional (apparently my own “Expecto Patronum!” is quite good too). Spoiler alert Harry kills Voldemort at the end. Good conquers evil. Morality wins the day. The books and the films are so satisfying because the right and proper outcome is achieved. If only it was as simple in the world of occupational health and safety. Most of you will be familiar with the moral…

  • NEBOSH & Assessments

    “Hey! Let’s be Careful Out There”

    As a health and safety tutor I have to introduce myself to rooms full of students all the time. I always start by telling them that I used to work as a production supervisor in an industrial bakery near Sheffield making tea cakes, white baps and hot cross buns for Marks and Spencer’s. And then I confess that as a production supervisor I had no particular interest in health and safety. I knew that it was one of my responsibilities, because it said so in my job description, and I did do some health and safety related activities routinely; such as safety inspections. But I was not particularly interested in…

  • Health & Safety,  News

    ISO 45001

    “Plan; Do; Check; Act; Check it out; What; what; what; What’s it all about?” (With apologies to the Beasty Boys)   In mid-March the new occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) ISO45001 was launched by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This replaces OHSAS 18001 to become the globally recognised OHSMS standard. ISO45001 adopts a management approach based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) management cycle, mirroring the approach taken by the HSE in their guidance HSG65. In brief this management cycle can be summarised as: Plan:  determine and assess OH&S risks and opportunities, establish OH&S objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the OH&S policy; Do:  implement…

  • Environmental,  Health & Safety

    Bad Daisy! Risks Associated with Cattle

    I was sitting in a neighbour’s kitchen recently with a group of folks who were talking about beating the bounds. This is an old tradition that goes back to medieval times where people walk around a parish boundary. The organiser was narrating the route and talking about possible hazards along the way and what he wanted done about them. When he got to one particular section he mentioned that he was worried about cows being in the field. He did not want dogs in with the cattle so proposed that the walkers with dogs should take an alternative route (which does not follow the boundary) to avoid agitating the cattle.…

  • Health & Safety,  NEBOSH & Assessments

    The Risks in a Lead Workshop

    Outside of health and safety, I have an interest in old buildings and their conservation. A couple of years ago, on a field visit as part of a course I was doing, I went on a tour of the stained glass conservation workshops at Salisbury Cathedral. Here they repair and refabricate stained glass panels for the historic windows in the cathedral and for other churches in the surrounding area. The coloured glass pieces are held together by lead strips, cast, extruded, cut, bent and soldered together by a small team of craftsmen. As I was reasonably familiar with the health effects of lead from a theoretical and control point of…

  • Health & Safety

    Health and Safety is Common Sense Self-Protection

    I recently came across this on an H&S checklist issued to volunteers at an event and it started me thinking about the phase ‘common sense’, its origins, definition, uses and, of course, its application to health and safety. A search of the HSE website (www.hse.gov.uk) revealed ‘Common Sense Common Safety’ (5). In this, Lord Young opines ‘Above all it means applying common sense not just to compensation but to everyday decisions once again’ and ‘My report highlights the role that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities have in promoting a common sense approach to health and safety’. The Prime Minister of the day, David Cameron, claims that…

  • Health & Safety,  News

    Changing a Culture: Shifting Attitudes to Health and Safety in The Middle East

    We often wonder why we have such poor occupational health and safety standards in the Middle East compared to other areas of the world. But if you look around you, you’ll find the answer. Safety is no different to other facets of living in the Middle East – we suffer from a culture that has long been dependent on others to develop and implement systems and technology. Even the water we drink is imported! What appears to matter most to us is how easily we can purchase things that are ready-made, rather than go through the process of creating them ourselves. For example: We have budgets, but we mainly use…