Oct. 24 2019
My role is the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Manager for the UK & Ireland and my responsibility is to ensure that Bureau Veritas HSE policies and procedures are compliant with legal requirements and, where relevant, standards and best practice.
My role has many aspects to it but primarily my responsibility is to set the strategic direction of the company, to ensure that the direction is in line with Group requirements and that the objectives are achievable but also challenge us so we can improve year on year.
I assist Bureau Veritas to maintain and build on our safety culture to ensure that our people are safe and healthy and do not suffer any adverse effects due to their work. The Bureau Veritas vision is zero accidents and to attempt to achieve this we have a set of cardinal rules. It is my responsibility to ensure the cardinal rules are included in our communications, inductions, training and procedures and that our people have these and health and safety at the forefront of their minds at all times.
Day to day we ensure that Bureau Veritas work activities are risk assessed and that those risk assessments are suitable and sufficient. We review and update risk assessments if there is a change in our work activities or if an incident highlights a deficiency. We create and deliver training and workshops and maintain a library of online training which are designed to inform employees about hazards and health and safety risks in the workplace and how to control risks which helps to reduce the likelihood of injury or ill-health.
My role involves conducting internal and site audits, monitoring health, safety and environmental statistics to identify trends and any improvements or potential problems and to track non-conformances from audits until they are closed out. I conduct and assist with incident investigations for near misses, unsafe conditions, accidents and road traffic incidents so we can learn from these incidents to prevent any future reoccurrences.
The most important part of my role day today is the relationship my team and I have with our colleagues and the support I can provide to them to enable them to conduct their work in a safe manner at all times. This relationship is based on trust which is critical when we need to work together. Safety is not just my job but is everyone’s job in Bureau Veritas and this is something that is instilled from induction.
Throughout my career, I have always worked in the operations side of the business. It was during this time that I developed an interest in the welfare of those around me, whether it be work colleagues or clients and ensuring that I took responsibility to raise concerns.
I also have an interest in the training side of health and safety because it enables people to become more aware of the regulations, procedures and controls that should be in place in the workplace. In a previous job, some time ago, I was injured at work and it became very clear to me during this time that it was so easy to protect people by simply taking the necessary steps in the workplace to ensure that people stay safe and healthy. Once I had the opportunity to work in health and safety, I took it and I have been doing so ever since.
Absolutely, our people always put safety at the forefront of their minds at work and how they carry out their work because they care about safety and people. Of course, this is even more relevant because health and safety is embedded in the services we offer, for example, asbestos surveys and statutory inspections of lifting and work equipment.
Safety is also included in our cardinal rules, which are a set of behaviours that Bureau Veritas employees practice whilst at work to avoid having any type of accident, ill health or injury at work. We also practice safe working when we are at the client’s premises, where we complete a take 2 risk assessment. This is a document we complete to ensure that we have thoroughly assessed the environment in which we are working and the task to be conducted, enabling the person to be in complete control. If the situation is unsafe our people have the authority to stop work and walk away if that is what is needed to ensure their safety and the safety of others.
We have many systems and procedures in place to ensure that we are working safely. For example, we always give our employees my safety and compliance handbook at their induction when they first join the business, which includes the Cardinal Safety Rules to ensure that people know how to work safely and what is expected so that their working journey runs as smoothly as possible.
A take 2 risk assessment is embedded in our work activities and every person who works outside of the office is aware of the benefits and the requirement to complete this assessment prior to starting work and throughout the task.
Another example is our incident reporting systems, which we encourage all employees to engage with and ensure that they are proactively reporting any unsafe conditions that they spot in the workplace. We also encourage all employees to use their Stop Work Authority if they believe that the environment is unsafe which prevents incidents occurring due to an unsafe situation.
One of the main projects I have enjoyed working on is the employee health and safety training that we now have at the Bureau Veritas training school facility. The training school was initially
designed as a technical school for crane engineers and I created our health and safety pack for working at height training and confined spaces when it was clear the facility could be used for much more than technical training.
Instead of sending our employees to generic training courses elsewhere, we now provide a very specific training course at this facility to ensure we are giving our colleagues tailored training which is relevant to the work they do. The feedback from this training has been excellent and one colleague commented that they had attended a lot of work at height and confined spaces courses through their career and for the first time they felt like they had learnt something new. The training facility is something I am particularly proud of as it not only provides this bespoke health and safety training but allows people to have specific technical training in an ideal environment.
Because we are such a large and varied business, there are so many opportunities available to you. For example, you could start the business in one role, but throughout the years you can move around the business into different departments as your needs change or opportunities arise.
I think that Bureau Veritas is keen to help all individuals’ development – a lot of the people I work with directly have changed roles as their career with Bureau Veritas has progressed. There is always an opportunity for people to progress and develop their career further.
Since I started my career at Bureau Veritas I have never had a dull day, we are always trying to continually improve so there is never a moment where we are wondering what to do next. We have already planned our next step and once one job is achieved we move onto the next.
I would probably say “diverse”; in regards to the people, the work we do and the clients we work for.