HSE UK Congress
HSE UK Congress 2020: Be curious, creative and courageous
Robert Jukes, SHP’s Rising Star for 2019, reports from the two-day conference at the De Vere Cotswold Hotel in Gloucestershire.
The HSE UK Congress is part of a series of events which make up the HSE Global Series. This initiative is designed to make a difference and help drive a long-term reduction in the number of workplace incidents and fatalities by bringing the leaders within our industry together to collaborate and share best practice and real-world experiences. It is founded by Paul Clark. Paul’s commitment to making the event a success was evident from the moment I arrived at the hotel. Paul was on hand to welcome me and other guests to the hotel and was then making the rounds in the bar the night before the conference kicked off.
This level of personal service highlighted what would be a fantastic recurring theme throughout the conference. The event ran smoothly, despite a speaker being unavailable last-minute and amid Storm Ciara. Improvisation was as key as ever, and a fantastic breakout to tackle the four biggest issues attendees were facing, turned into one of the best sessions of the day. With concepts on leadership, technology, mental health and software discussed and addressed by industry leaders, we came away with a better understanding of the problems and potential solutions for these issues.
Paul kicked off the conference welcoming all attendees, as well as Chair for the conference Anna Keen, Director of Acre Frameworks. During the conference Anna posed some interesting and insightful questions, which challenged panel members and speakers alike. Paul and Anna set three themes during the opening address of the conference. They wanted attendees to demonstrate the ‘3 C’s’. To be curious to ask questions to challenge and engage, be creative to identify problems, solutions and to be courageous, brave, bold and be willing to do things differently.
Both days consisted of a series of workshops, round table discussions, breakout sessions and a fantastic line up of speakers. Erik Hollnagel provided an interesting approach to looking at and learning when ‘nothing’ happens. Leon Lloyd produced a fantastic presentation which drove home the importance of having the right attitude and putting in the hard work and there was a fantastic keynote speech by Sir Clive Woodward, who I was completely awestruck by. I also had a million questions following Danny Sculthorpe’s inspiring talk on mental health with Jason Anker MBE, who continues to do so much to transform health and safety.
The first day started bright and early with a breakfast session – a panel debate on Human Performance, which included members such as Gerry Mulholland from Amey, Sebastian Blair from Dekra, Teresa Swinton from Paradigm Human Performance and Dianne Chadwick-Jones from BP, who all drove home that safety is about the people.
As ever with a conference, I do not adopt everything but merely listen to everything in order to identify the nuggets of information which will help me grow and learn. The take-home from this panel was to try sit down all those involved in an incident or accident as a team and discuss it in a collaborative environment. Whilst it may not always be appropriate, I do recognise how this can remove the sting from an investigation and allow us to get a better detailed understanding of what has transpired. It could also build culture, as incidents are being investigated as a team with the aim of identifying all the factors involved. Another take-home was how BP actively promote discussions with employees when they cannot follow the rules, and to then look at improving the rules.
I then joined a roundtable lead by Eurofins, which had industry leaders such as Jonathan Dempsey of Hermes, Duncan Spencer from IOSH, Stephanie Camm from Unite Students, Steff Williams from Sonocco and Ken Anderson from Siemens. The session was on the ‘Hidden Cost of Substance Misuse in The Workplace…Can You Afford to Ignore It?’ This session was a fun, informative pub quiz style session with industry leaders discussing and guessing the figures to a series of questions on substance misuse within the UK. The numbers were staggering. This session drove home the problem we, as industry professionals, face but also the steps we, as industry leaders, can take to try and address it.
Next up was Professor Erik Hollnagel from Jonkoping University on Safety 2.0 and the concept of looking at what happens when all goes well. Asking: Why does it go well? Well often, we have the right level of resources, time, information maybe we must make an adjustment to match the situation, but the adjustment is approximate to the situation that it all goes well. However, the same process can occur, but the adjustment may lead to failure. It may not be approximate to the situation. His slide below was the take-home for me, on how Safety 2.0 looks to further improve safety performance.
Finishing off the day, was Leon Lloyd. Leon was a fantastic rugby player in his day, who has gone from strength to strength in being a successful author, leader and CEO. Leon opened, by asking us all to think of the best team in the world and why? I thought of teams such as the New Zealand All Blacks, The Special Air Service (SAS) and the Manchester United of old, under Sir Alex Ferguson. These teams achieved considerable success, hitting their goals and performing under intense pressure for a considerable time to leave behind a legacy. Leon talked about his journey, his work and his advice to help us not only improve ourselves, but the teams we are part of and lead. Leon provided three top tips, which empathise having the right attitude, working hard and making sure you are doing the right work win or lose.
Robert Jukes and Sir Clive Woodward
Day 1 of the conference concluded with a fantastic meal, followed by a keynote speech from Sir Clive Woodward, who spoke about the DNA of a champion. I first saw Sir Clive speak at Safety & Health Expo in 2018, but this time he went further into what he feels makes a champion. He touched on some of the stories of the England World Cup Triumph, his own challenges and provided fantastic advice to us all on how to improve ourselves and our teams. Sir Clive pointed out that talent alone is not enough. Champions need to have the right attitude, to train constantly under pressure (TCUP), to be a sponge and willing to learn. The take-home for me, was that champions have the right attitude, they put in the hours whether it be training or doing they are constantly working to improve and are always willing to learn and develop. I have learnt that people that succeed within business, sports and most things in life are constantly trying to get better at what they are trying to do to fine tune their performance their understanding and this includes the small details.
Diversity in Safety
Day two started with a breakfast discussion panel on Diversity in Safety which included Simon Bown, from KeolisAmey Docklands, Ruth Denyer from ITV, Velma Baptiste-Destouche from British American Tobacco, Stephanie Camm from Unite Students, Diane Chadwick-Jones from BP and Jonathan Gawthrop from EMCOR. I felt the discussion raised the importance of having people who think differently within the team, or look at things from a different angle. Diane Chadwick-Jones revealed that BP found that more diverse teams would take slightly longer to reach a solution but that the solution would be a far better answer to the problem.
Next up was a panel discussion with Anna asking questions from representatives from the country’s leading HS&E organisations. We had Duncan Spencer from IOSH, Clive Johnson from IIRSM, Lawrence Waterman from British Safety Council and Steven Naylor from the Health and Safety Executive. This panel discussed the future of the profession, the challenges we face and the work they were undertaking and plans on how they would collaborate in future to drive change. For me though, I think we need to engage the youth on the platforms they use such as YouTube, have leaders of MBA programs attend HS&E conferences to advise on panel debates as well as speak on the challenges future leaders face to having representatives from the Institute of Directors come along advise how they see us further integrating our industry into the wider business context.
One of the standout speakers of the event was former rugby league player Danny Sculthorpe who talked about his story, his journey and his advice. Danny was a fantastic player whose career got cut short by injury. He gave a talk on how this affected him mentally, giving up the career he loved, losing his livelihood and the lows that he went through. Danny talked about how he thought of suicide, how he did not want to talk to anyone at the time and how talking to his family helped him recover. Danny’s story is one of courage, one of struggling with mental health and coming out the other side. Danny promotes the State of Mind charity, encouraging men to speak about their problems. We all go through hard times at different times within our life, but we can help each other get through these dark times and come out the other side more successful!
Jason Anker closed out the event with another fantastic speech. Jason also talks about his story and his journey, but for me is doing so much within the industry to improve people’s lives for the better. Jason’s insight into mental health after an accident is something I can relate to and again support 100%! Anyone who has suffered an accident at work will tell you that the metal aspect is often just as bad if not worse than the physical aspect. You must process what has transpired, the different worries within your head from worrying about pay, to the investigation, to getting back to work to future livelihood to actually dealing with what has happened, to medical appointments to medications to the what if? Jason tells us that the problem is our attitude to the problems we are facing not the problem and he is completely right. If we change our attitude to the problem and face it with a positive mindset, we are on the right track towards moving forward and addressing the problem. Often the battles within our own heads are worse than the actual problems we face.
For anyone wanting to see more about the HSE UK Congress, I strongly recommend catching James MacPherson’s Rebranding Safety coverage. James asked some fantastic questions from Has Health and Safety gone mad? To is health and safety a boring career? To repeatedly putting myself and the attendees on the spot to various questions and observations on what was occurring throughout the conference.
Throughout the two days, Paul Clark’s engaging personality really built up the people up around him. Maybe because my personality is similar? or because of the success of the event? But the more the conference progressed, the more I came to like Paul, his team and his vision. Motivated by this it is clear to see why Paul and the team work so hard to make the event a success. I genuinely wish Paul and his team every bit of luck, support and success with their vision.
Lastly, HSE Global Series have set up the HSE Global Series Foundation which is a non-profit charity to help fund and support families affected by workplace injuries. 10% of the HSE Global Series business profit is dedicated to charity annually. This is a fantastic cause I strongly encourage all health and safety professionals to engage with and promote.
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