Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

March 29, 2016

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The weird and wonderful jobs of OSH: TV safety


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Ruth Denyer, Group Head of Health, Safety and Insurance Risk Management at ITV, talks to SHP about what a normal working day looks like and about the day she found herself being asked a one in a million safety question. 


 Tell us about your job at ITV?

I am the Group Head of Health, Safety and Insurance Risk Management at ITV, the remit is huge and what I do changes every day as my team look after a range of risks I would have never thought of when I was first starting out in health and safety.  I also oversee the group insurance programme – this doesn’t just cover the insurance of health and safety risks it’s about mitigating the risks involved in all our activities.

How did your past jobs lead you to where you are now?

My first job in Health and Safety was at the National Theatre, I was 22 and had completed my degree in Occupational Safety and Health at Leeds Metropolitan University (now Leeds Beckett University) a few months beforehand. Finding that first role wasn’t easy so when I was offered the job as Health and Safety Advisor at The National Theatre I was really excited, I wanted to do something a bit different than the traditional H&S roles

I went on to work in the internal H&S team at KPMG to be part of a Health and Safety team (there we 4 of us) so I could learn directly from others in the profession.  I then moved on to be the H&S Manager at The Prince’s Trust which was a fascinating place to work where I learnt a great deal about considering risk more widely across all of an organisation’s activities.

I finally joined ITV 11 years ago as the Health and Safety Manager for London and have been within the business since then.

What does a normal working day look like for you?

I would say nothing is normal at ITV, we never know what idea a Production is going to come up with on any day, timelines are short and the pace is fast!  The business is constantly changing and growing so you never know what is coming next.

Health and Safety is well integrated into operational risk management and we get pulled into other areas such as crisis planning, in answer to the question no two days are ever the same!

What do you like most about your job?

I work with a fantastic team in a really interesting and challenging business full of great characters.  ITV values our input at all levels of the business and is open to doing health and safety differently and adapting our approach as the business changes.  The managing risk well theme within the new HSE strategy really aligns to what we are trying to achieve.

In your opinion, can health and safety be fun?

Absolutely it is a great role to work in but it is what you make it and you need to have the enthusiasm to make it fun and engage with people all along the way.

What is the strangest thing you’ve had to do since you started working in health and  safety at ITV?

Honestly the strangest things have to be production related and I would say the phone call about safety considerations for an item on a show called ‘knob in a vice’ is one of the oddest moments of my career. . . .

What are the best perks about doing what you do?

I love working at ITV and the fresh challenges each and every day, having the opportunity to really talk about risk with the business.  All the learning behind health and safety management can be applied to many organisational risks and the maturity of thinking within health and safety can inform risk management in many other business areas, we just need to make sure we are relevant at a senior decision making level and we enjoy what we do.


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Nigel Dupree
Nigel Dupree
8 years ago

Cracking anecdote about the “knob in a vice” but, how about the innocuous, insidious, and sort off dismissed everyday sort of harmless risks taken for granted ? Like, you know, there so innocent that they sort of drop off everyone’s hazard radar just because, they are so common almost everyone has got, at least, one bit of kit with a display screen, in one form or another that nevertheless, 58% of user operators just like perceive that they have to put up with, regardless of how sub-optimal their display screen interface and working environment actually is? Of course, all DSE… Read more »