Revealed – the Super Powers our safety professionals would love to have
Super powers are for movie heroes. But we can all dream – even health and safety leaders.
As Saturday 28th April 2018 is World Day for Safety and Health at Work – also known as SafeDay – we are marking the moment to ask the leaders of our health and safety teams two questions:
If you could have any Health and Safety Super Power, what would it be?
And, just to put them on the spot, we also asked them what special Health and Safety Strength they already have.
We think the results are illuminating, not least in revealing the passion our health and safety managers have for working tirelessly to encourage everyone at Lanes Group plc to work safely – and to safeguard the safety, health, and wellbeing of customers and the wider public.
Group Health, Safety, Quality, and Environment Manager
Health and Safety Strength Paul is: Patience
Health and Safety Super Power he would love to have: The ability to be in multiple places at the same time.
Paul has overall responsibility for safety across Lanes Group’s national depot network. As a Chartered Member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health he is highly qualified to do his job.
But he believes one of the key issues for health and safety is caring about what you do, not just what you know. He explains: “A very large proportion of our colleagues are very responsible and want do the right thing. Having the right moral attitude and caring about how we work is very important for the health, safety, and wellbeing of others.”
Paul works hard to improve the systems and processes that underpin good health and safety. But just as important for him is getting out, meeting people, and seeing and hearing how they work.
He says: “Encouraging change when things are wrong and giving pats on backs where things are right are best done face to face. It’s a process of making small steps, but knowing you are going in the right direction.”
No wonder, then that Paul’s personal strength is, he says, patience. For every two or three steps forwards, there may be one backwards.
And Super Power? “As I have 22 depots plus headquarter centres to cover, I would love to be able to be in multiple places at the same time. That would save so much time!”
UKDN Waterflow (LG) Ltd Rail HSQE & Systems Manager
Health and Safety Strength Tonni is: Listening
Health and Safety Super Power she would love to have: The ability to read between the lines.
Tonni is not just highly qualified, she’s more than a dab hand at the art of persuasion. As someone who has successfully introduced behavioural health and safety training techniques to support her colleagues, that should come as no surprise
The rail team at UKDN Waterflow (LG), based in Slough, Berkshire, works in one of the most safety-regulated industries on the planet. It has to be to protect both workers and the travelling public.
Tonni still has her work cut out encouraging best health and safety practice. She says a subtle approach to people management works best.
“Shouting at colleagues, most of them men who have been doing this job for many years, will never work. Drip feeding information, encouraging, and pointing out what will work best for them is far more effective.”
The team being awarded a full Principal Contractor Licence (PLC) in 2017, creating opportunities to win larger maintenance contracts, has helped embed high standards.
But Tonni still needs her Health and Safety Strength – listening. Sometimes, Tonni admits, it is more like earwigging. “Sitting back and hearing projects being discussed between colleagues can be very illuminating,” she says.
Tonni’s most desired super power is a tweak of her strength. “I would love to be able to read between the lines. So, when someone says they are going to do something, I know straight away what they are actually going to do.”
Health and Safety Manager, AQS Environmental Solutions
Health and Safety strength Sean is: Approachability
Health and Safety Super Power he would love to have: Mind bending
Sean joined AQS as Health and Safety Manager five years ago and has been working hard with colleagues to further develop its safety culture ever since.
Achievement of the OHSAS 18001 standard is an example of success already achieved. AQS has just 40 employees. But it aims high in working with some of the biggest businesses in Ireland.
Sean says: “It’s very pleasing when we get positive feedback from multi-national companies saying they were impressed with the health and safety standards set by our operational teams.
“That shows we’re heading in the right direction. But we’re on a journey which never stops. We’re now aiming to achieve the new health and safety standard, ISO 450001.”
Like Tonni, Sean sees himself as a motivator. Operatives working alone or in pairs need to want to work safely and make the right decisions.
“Our front-line operatives should not feel under any pressure to do something that does not feel safe. They should stop and call it in.”
Which leads us to Sean’s Health and Safety Strength: “I think it’s approachability. I hope my colleagues know they can call me on health and safety any time, and I will help.”
His Health and Safety Super Power is mind bending – okay, it is an ability to change a mindset. Sean says: “Some people are set in their ways. If I could instantly change their mindset, that would be wonderful.”
Lanes Rail Division Health and Safety Manager
Health and Safety Strength Amanda is: Multitasking
Health and Safety Super Power she would love to have: A force field.
Amanda Joined Lanes Rail in September 2017. Previously, she had worked primarily in the construction sector, so she had been busy immersing herself in the procedures and culture of health and safety in the rail industry.
Her approach to safety is collaborative which works well at Lanes Rail, where teams work closely together and in partnership with clients, which has impressed her greatly.
She has spent a significant amount of time working with front line teams to review and update health and safety policies, procedures, and operation guides.
“My arrival coincided with Lanes Rail winning big new facilities management contracts from Transport for London, which needed us to review and develop further the right health and safety regime,” she says.
“Developing safety skills learning and training opportunities is a good way to reward and retain enthusiastic operatives and supervisors who can grow their careers as Lanes Rail grows as a business.”
As safety is the first consideration in the rail industry it is seen at Lanes Rail as a change agent for operational innovation that benefits all.
Being so busy, it is no wonder Amanda’s Health and Safety Strength is multitasking. “I always have four or five things on the go at the same time,” she says. “I’d make a good juggler.”
Amanda is collaborative, yet she takes control when she has to. Her Health and Safety Superpower would be a force field. If it is not safe, it has to be stopped.
Lanes Utilities Division Health, Quality, and Environment Manager
Health and Safety Strength Kris is: Understanding
Health and Safety Super Power he would love to have: an ability to see into the future.
Like Amanda at Lanes Rail, Kris Taylor does a whole lot of collaborating about health, safety, and wellbeing. Lanes Utilities is the wastewater network services partner for Thames Water.
With more than 1,000 employees in the division, maintaining the UK’s biggest and most complex wastewater network, he and his HSQE team have quite a lot to think about.
“Communication is key to what we do, and something we have worked very hard to develop,” says Kris. “We want to hear more than tell. We want all or colleagues to contribute to a strong health and safety culture.”
Lanes Utilities has a strong reputation for innovation, with health and safety strongly featuring in the mix of new ideas making a big difference.
He says: “Wellbeing, as well as health and safety, is important to us. Feeling good about ourselves encourages us to deliver better customer service and work better together, that means more safely, and more effectively.”
An example is the use of a ground-breaking wellbeing app, combined with an inhouse wellbeing and mental health practitioner, which is helping colleagues tackle personal issues that affect their work.
Kris sees his Health and Safety strength as personal understanding. He once ‘worked on the tools’ himself. So, he understands the challenges operational teams face.
His most desired Super Power? “If I could see into the future, I could warn what will happen if wrong choices were made. I would just have to hope people believed me!”
SafeDay – find out more
SafeDay is organised by the International Labour Organisation, a United Nations agency. This year it is combining with the World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) in a joint campaign to improve the safety and health of young workers, and end child labour. For more information on this campaign go to: www.ilo.org/safework/events/safeday
#GlobalSafetyDay #WeLiveSafety #SafetyAtWork #LookingOutForYou