Health and Safety are not four-letter words - they go much further than that

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As National HSCE Manager, Steve is responsible for the national delivery of EEF’s Health, Safety, Climate and Environment (HSCE) services. He ensures not only that client’s business needs and examination requirements are met but reduces risks and provides security of professional advice and support. Prior to joining EEF, Steve worked for Northern Foods as their Group SHE Manager and after graduating, joined the HSE as one of HM Inspectors of Health & Safety. Steve has over 20 years’ experience within the HSE field and is an examiner for NEBOSH on the National Diploma, the leading qualification for Practitioners both within the UK and recognised internationally. Steve is an active member on EEF’s National Health and Safety Policy Committee, representing and lobbying for members with regards to proposed legislative changes and the impact on UK businesses. He has a BSc Hons, Agricultural Science, Nottingham and a Diploma in Health and Safety, Aston. Steve is also a Fellow of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and Associate member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).

Travelling between meetings recently, I was listening to the car radio and encountered the ‘plugging circuit’ work of authors Tracey Brown and Michael Hanlon who were promoting their new book “In the Interests of Safety: The absurd rules that blight our lives and how we can change them”.  They talked about how perverse it seemed that an airline pilot would have a butter knife confiscated when he was permitted to take charge of a 500 ton plane or that a mobile phone would be capable of downing said jet or blowing up a petrol station.

I am not denigrating their work, in fact, if someone wants to pop that book in my stocking this Christmas I wouldn’t be disappointed (my office secret Santa, please take note).  I understand the point that they are hoping to make around the terms “health”, “safety” and “security” being used as an excuse by the overly pedantic and bureaucratic individuals and organisations as mechanism for getting their own, but I fear that in picking out Health and Safety as the cause of society’s ills and responsible for extracting the fun from our lives is somewhat missing the point.

We all want to work in an environment that is safe and where we and our colleagues are healthy and happy.  In fact, places where health and safety is poor are places where people are the first to complain about the lack of structured governance.  As legislation changes evolve and as the UK economy starts to return to full strength and health and you start to acquire new employees as a result, the implementation of a Health and Safety regimen is more important than ever.

Training your workforce to work safely is not only a legal requirement but also maintain your businesses’ competitive edge being it induction, refresher or on the job training. When was the last time you had an in-depth audit and review of your Health and Safety management systems to ensure legal compliance and best practice – now is the time to take action before something untoward happens.

EEF offer Health and Safety training courses that will help you to ensure that your business, your workforce and you yourself are up-to-speed with the latest Health and Safety practices. The NEBOSH Award of Health and Safety at Work offers a great introduction to Health and Safety practices while the NEBOSH National Certificate in the Management of Health and Well-being at Work will help managers who have background in Health and Safety create environments with minimal sickness and where people want to come to work.

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Health, Safety and Sustainability Director

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