• Health & Safety

    Health & Safety – Shifting Cultural Norms

    When I was 18 years old I was knocked off my bicycle in a road traffic accident (or road traffic collision to use the modern parlance). I hit the tarmac quite hard; landing head first and sliding along the ground a bit before coming to a stop. As I lay on my side staring at the sky I could taste salty liquid trickling down my throat. When I turned my head a straw-coloured liquid dripped out of my nose to form a little puddle. That’s when I knew I had a fractured skull. When I tell people about this accident they often ask if I was wearing a helmet. And…

  • Danger Asbestos Hazard Yellow sign - Field in the background
    Health & Safety

    Global Asbestos Awareness Week 2019

    Global Asbestos Awareness week, (1st – 7th April), was established to raise awareness surrounding the illnesses and consequential deaths that asbestos causes. Although it has been banned in the U.K. since 1999, there are over 1.5 million buildings in the UK that may contain asbestos (UKATA, 2019). Buildings erected pre-1999 can have dormant asbestos within their foundations, and can be accidentally disturbed during renovations or repairs. Unfortunately, asbestos is still legal in many countries around the world. What is Asbestos? Asbestos is a term for a group of minerals made of microscopic fibres. If you breathe in these fibres, they can damage your lungs (British Lung Foundation, 2019). Asbestos is…

  • LEader on a construction site
    NEBOSH & Assessments

    NEBOSH Health & Safety Leadership Excellence – What Drives People?

    I found myself in front of a group of senior execs a few weeks ago talking about the influence that they have on the safety culture of their organisations, and consequently the safety-related behaviours of their workers. The course was the new NEBOSH / HSE Health and Safety Leadership Excellence course. This is an ideas-rich one day introduction to the principles of health and safety leadership. It has a heavy emphasis on human factors and is more concerned with leadership styles and the psychology of decision-making than it is with the nuts and bolts of safety management. I blogged about certain aspects of the course a few months ago (see…

  • Welding with sparks flying
    Health & Safety

    Group 1: Carcinogenic to Humans

    I was diagnosed with cancer a little over five years ago. I know – that’s a bit of an opening line to a blog. But it’s true and I am unrepentant. We are afraid of the word despite the fact that one in two people born in the UK will experience some form of cancer over their lifetime (see here). Fortunately for me the type of cancer that I had, combined with early detection, surgery and chemotherapy have led to a very positive prognosis. I was, and am, lucky. But it has changed my perspective on cancer. When I was a young man cancer was a disease that other people…

  • 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…

  • Health & Safety

    “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…

  • News, Updates & Events

    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…