Toby named national health and safety rising star

Health, safety and wellbeing trainee Toby Cook has won a national award that identifies the top health and safety professionals of the future.

Toby, who is part of the Lanes Group plc team delivering the wastewater network service maintenance contract for Thames Water, has won the SHP Rising Star Utility Award.

Judges praised the way he showed maturity beyond his years by intelligently immersing himself in his role, showing determination, judgement and a flair for innovation.

They concluded that Toby, aged 20, had made a big impact in his first year in the water and wastewater utility sector after previously working as a sales assistant at a men’s clothing shop.

He was presented with his award by Simon Bown, HSQE Director at KeolisAmey Docklands, during the Safety and Health Expo held at ExCel in London.

Lanes Technical Director Andy Brierley, who heads up the Thames Water contract, said: “We’re very proud that Toby has won this prestigious award.

“He epitomises what Lanes working for Thames Water is all about. We aim to show initiative, drive and commitment to achieve excellent service, with a super-strong focus on health, safety and wellbeing.”

Toby said: “I was amazed to have won. It’s a great feeling to know my work is recognised by leading health and safety professionals. I can only do what I do because I’m fully supported by all colleagues at Lanes.”

One of Toby’s latest projects is to organise and deliver first aid training in primary schools in the Thames Water region, as part of a Government scheme to promote first aid in schools.

Safety and Health Practitioner magazine’s Rising Star Awards identify young people achieving great things in health and safety across seven commercial sectors, including utilities.

In Toby’s submission, it was explained how he had changed careers completely to join Lanes because he wanted to learn technical skills and make a difference for others in the workplace.

To quickly gain knowledge about wastewater maintenance, he went on ride-along days with colleagues, an approach now adapted across Lanes.

While studying for a NEBOSH General Certificate in health and safety, he used his study leave to support colleagues preparing for audits to achieve ISO 45001:2018 accreditation.

He has also used his new skills and knowledge to help coaches at his cycling club carry out dynamic risk assessments of activities undertaken by its youngest members, aged 6 to 17.

Judges concluded that Toby’s determination to succeed at such a young age showed he has a strong future in health and safety.

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