Ian Fyall – How did I get here?
I started in scaffolding when I left school and then worked on oil and gas rigs. Throughout this time, I was learning about health and safety, becoming a scaffolding supervisor and then a safety consultant, before starting up my own business with co-director Simon Hughes.
What qualifications do you hold?
A City and Guilds in health and safety and a NEBOSH General Certificate. I am also a V1 Accredited Verifier, a chartered member of IOSH, a registered member of the Association of Project Safety and a member of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management.
Which aspects of your health and safety role do you most enjoy?
As a scaffolder myself it is great to take large projects from start to finish, with no lost-time accidents. With my hat on as a trainer I enjoy seeing the young lads learning the ropes and gaining a solid understanding of the vital importance of health and safety in scaffolding.
What have been the highest and lowest points in your career?
The highest point was starting Simian Risk Group with Simon in 2006, offering health and safety consultancy across the scaffolding industry. Something that wasn’t necessarily a low point but was certainly daunting was leaving the comfort of a job on the rigs to move into the health and safety industry.
What has been the biggest change in H&S since you have been working in it?
The revision of the NASC’s SG4 guidance in 2000 represented significant change and challenge to the established methods of working that had been practised for decades. It is evident from NASC’s own statistics that SG4 has had a major effect in reducing falls from height over the past 12 years.
What do you think will be the biggest developments in the next 10 years?
I fear that the health and safety industry – with the recommendations announced in the Löfstedt Report combined with the reduction in HSE staff and site visits – could, unfortunately, go backwards. I hope, of course, that I am wrong. . .
If you were PM for a day which H&S law(s) would you introduce or repeal?
I would introduce a law on common sense to remove all the idiosyncrasies surrounding health and safety in schools and for school trips. I’d also definitely ban ‘no win, no fee’ solicitors.
How do you capitalise on your IOSH membership?
IOSH membership opens doors for us in the UK and in the United Arab Emirates, as it is a sign of quality and professionalism. I put my membership on all emails and letters, as people in the industry recognise it as a standard of excellence in health and safety.
What are your top two tips on getting a job in health and safety?
Firstly, don’t be afraid to drop down to the bottom of a better career. I left a career on the rigs and it took me five years to get back on to the same job level in health and safety, but I was always confident it was the right move. Secondly, embrace health and safety in your job and use it as a learning tool if you’re looking to switch careers.
Who has had the biggest impact on your career and how?
I would say that my grandfather has had the biggest impact. When I was young, I saw my grandfather working for himself and always knew that I wanted to be my own boss – I was always eager to gain enough knowledge and expertise to build my own business.
If you could be anything other than a H&S practitioner what would you be?
I would still be working in scaffolding in another form, as it is my passion – perhaps focusing solely on training the next generation of scaffolders and providing them with the necessary skills and guidance.
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