Meet the Experts: Anthony Cassidy


Over the last seven weeks we’ve been sharing insights from senior individuals across the Bureau Veritas business in our ‘Meet the experts: A year in review’ series. In this final instalment, we speak with Anthony Cassidy, technical manager for health, safety & fire consultancy.

Anthony speaks with Vicky Shah, our sector lead for retail, hospitality and leisure, about the importance of good planning and what it takes to demonstrate top-level accountability for health and safety.

Vicky Shah: Tell us about your own experiences through the years and how they help you in your role at Bureau Veritas.

Anthony Cassidy: I joined Bureau Veritas in 2015 after various HSEQ (Health, Safety, Environmental and Quality) roles across a wide range of organisations including manufacturers, fabricators, service providers and a university. I also worked as a self-employed health and safety consultant for a short time.

This variety of roles gave me a fantastic all-encompassing view of each aspect of health and safety – from the development of H&S management systems and workplace exposure studies, to staff training, noise assessments and much more. I gained experience of audits, consultancy, training and strategic services, all of which has helped to supplement my own personal development and experience.

Today, as technical manager for health, safety & fire consultancy, I’m responsible for a number of quality control and competency matters across the organisation.

For example, it’s my responsibility to ensure that we have competent resources aligned to the demands of our clients by using our competency management system. I also assist in interpreting client requirements and ensuring they follow through through to the final report, act as a reference point for consultants on technical health and safety matters, and act as quality control lead for the reports. In respect of fire it is my role to ensure our BAFE SP205 accreditation remains compliant with requirements.

VS: What is the most significant legislation that impacts your clients and how can Bureau Veritas support them?

AC: From a broad health and safety perspective there is a plethora of subordinate legislation that sits below the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. This can include PUWER, LOLER and CoSHH, as well as general health and safety requirements to manage health and safety at both a strategic and operational level. Many organisations will be operating their management system to a standard such as HSG 65 or ISO45001, and there are drivers within these standards for review and improvement.

VS: What are the key areas to be considered?

AC: Focusing on general health and safety due diligence, it is important that the duty holder can show management control over their health and safety arrangements. The typical model for this is the ‘plan, do, check, act; cycle.

As well as HSG 65 and ISO 45001, the Institute of Directors and Health & Safety Executive have produced guidance on health and safety governance to support senior leaders in demonstrating from the highest level that they acknowledge their accountability and how they manage their legal responsibilities.

VS: What is required to achieve compliance?

AC: Like any management system, 'system defences' can be found in a state of flux. Auditing these systems will help identify compliance or non-compliance, as well as opportunities for improvement. It is good practice to have a top-down review annually with specific operational and known higher risk control systems audited more frequently throughout the year.

VS: In your mind, why does it sometimes go wrong?

AC: This is a difficult question to answer, because the most serious incidents tend to have latent, systematic defects which have gone unidentified for many years. The well-known Swiss Cheese model highlights this – it’s not until the holes line up that the latent defects are identified.

VS: How does your team help?

AC: As an experienced, qualified team with unrivalled regulatory understanding, we can support clients by undertaking strategic reviews, general health, safety and fire audits, as well as deep dive audits into specific health and safety control systems to test their veracity.

VS: What one top tip would you give your clients?

AC: My favourite soap box topics revolve around advising operations managers that production efficiencies and good health and safety are synonymous with each other. If you can demonstrate this financially, even better.

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