Angela Asks: Andi Whittle from Royal Mail
(Image: Andi Whittle, Royal Mail)
Last month I met with Dan Joyce from SafetyCulture to discuss the changing world of technology within health and safety. Dan gave a really interesting view, and it prompted me to track down someone who works with health and safety technology from an end-user perspective.
After contacting Royal Mail (aim high!) Andi Whittle agreed to answer a few questions based on his experience.
Andi’s been in his current role of Information and Reporting Manager for just over 3 years where he is developing and managing a new compliance records database. His previous roles within Royal Mail have included National Technical and Compliance Manager, where he was responsible for the procurement and development of a new asbestos management system.
This was widely acknowledged as a major step forward, so he was definitely a man who could offer insight into how technology has been implemented and improved the health and safety within a giant national logistical organisation.
Playing catch up
Andi thinks the use of EHS technology is growing so rapidly because it essentially plays catch up to how the world now operates. For years, the focus on health and safety has been on the individual. The right person, the right qualifications, the right attention to detail. It was a compliance role with an almost obsessive nature for those passionate about safety. No corners cut and no stone unturned.
Andi feels for years, this approach overshadowed technology. It was more important that the right person was placed in the right role at the detriment of technology, despite it being an integral part of health and safety. I was also sad to hear the biggest challenge at the moment is resource. Not people, but finances – in order to make businesses more efficient.
On the flip side though, health and safety has come a long way. Andi highlighted being compliant with regulations is just a by-product of a good, solid engaged workforce that understands and takes ownership of their environment reinforcing his passion into investing in the right people in the right roles for a safe working environment.
It can’t be gone unsaid too that the use of the smart phone has a phenomenal part to play. It allows people to speak directly to their compliance system in a way that keeps records and actions up to date – ensuring risk is managed more efficiently.
Technology as barrier
I asked Andi what else he would like to see from the sector. His answer is the only downside to the more frequent use of technology – getting out from behind the desk and actually speaking to people. He sees this as crucial to really understand the human side, and take them on the journey to gain a better understanding of why we need health and safety, and how it differs so much in different environments.
I promised myself these blogs would be from a strictly non-commercial perspective but it sounds a lot like Andi is highlighting the integral importance for events within the industry: to provide a celebration of the sector and a meeting place where health and safety can continue to grow and learn from each other.
Safety & Health Podcast: Listen now
Exclusive interviews, the very latest news and reports from the health and safety frontline and in-depth examinations of the biggest issues facing the profession today. You'll find all that and more in the Safety & Health Podcast from SHP.
Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, subscribe and join the conversation today.