David Hull – How did I get here?
I was working in an engineering factorywhen the health and safety officer told me I had a great common-sense approach to getting things done in a safe manner while considering the commercial impact. I became a safety rep and it went from there.
What qualifications do you hold?
NEBOSH Diploma part 1; NEBOSH Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety Level 6; NEBOSH Diploma in Environmental Management; NEBOSH General Certificate; IOSH Managing safely; Manual handling; Train the trainer; CSCS Supervisor ADR; Quarries Regulations Course (Advanced); and First Aid at Work.
Which aspects of your health and safety role do you most enjoy?
Behavioural safety, as I love the challenge of seeing how and why people do what they do, and seeing the change as we progress the safety culture together.
What have been the highest and lowest points in your career?
The low point was being made redundant from two key roles in my career. The highest point has to be graduating (never thought I’d see the day!) and working for some great companies.
What has been the biggest change in H&S since you have been working in it?
In the last 16 years in safety the acceptance from employees has to be one of the biggest changes for me. Although some people use it negatively, blaming safety on restricting what they do, themajority feel safer and looked after while at work.
What do you think will be the biggest developments in the next 10 years?
Wow – I would have to say the unfortunate demise of the HSE. They are stretched thin as it is and, despite saying they will only go after major/repeat offenders who breach the law, they seem to still go after some companies who do all they can. If they continue to lose the support of business then they will cease to exist. But I would like to add that the majority of HSE inspectors have worked well with me on most occasions.
If you were PM for a day, which H&S law(s) would you introduce, or repeal?
I would update the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 and withdraw some of the old, outdated regulations.
How do you capitalise on your IOSH membership?
I spend a lot of time online, so I keep an eye on the website and read my SHP and SHPlus. I keep my CPD up to date, which at first was a real bind but once I got used to recording everything important/ relevant it wasn’t too bad.
What are your top two tips on getting a job in health and safety?
The obvious answer is make sure you are qualified for the role you’re applying for – there is no point applying for a director position earning £90k if you only have the NEBOSH Certificate and currently earn £25k! A big thing that has helped me climb the ladder is being commercially minded without sacrificing my health and safety principles. This, and several CVs. . .oops, that’s three things!
Who has had the biggest impact on your career, and how?
A former manager of mine at Wincanton, Stuart Williams. He gave me an opportunity and believed in me, probably when I didn’t always believe in myself. Great guy and a pleasure to have worked for.
If you could be anything other than a H&S practitioner, what would you be?
An outdoor pursuits instructor. As a former soldier and outdoor worker I got great satisfaction from seeing people achieve things they never thought they could. Very rewarding job but the pay was rubbish!
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