Practitioners assemble to celebrate Safety4Good
Safety4Good is an initiative developed by several high-profile UK health & safety leaders to raise the positive profile of the profession.
It does this in three ways:
- Donating time to great causes;
- Mentoring new and young entrants in the profession to maximise their potential and contribution and progress their careers;
- Raising money for a portfolio of charities through donation and events.
The initiative is the brainchild of Simon Bliss, Managing Director at specialist safety and health recruitment agency Principal People.
At a recent event in London, which took place to mark World Health Safety Day, Simon told a group of assembled supporters, who between them possessed over 300 years of experience in health and safety, that: “We don’t celebrate the world of health & safety enough in this country.”
Since it’s inception, Safety4Good has signed up over 650 supporters who have donated more than 200 days and helped 11 different charities including Mind, Great Ormand Street Hospital, RNLI and Woman’s Aid, by raising over £42,000.
The event was held at ITV headquarters in London and hosted by Ruth Denyer, Group Risk Director at ITV, who is a Safety4Good trustee and one of the first people Simon approached with the idea. Ruth spoke what drove her to be involved: “For me, it’s all about enabling not-for-profits and charities to get access to high-quality, free help and advice that will enable them to achieve their goals.
“Often health and safety is seen to be a barrier to things happening. In reality, this is rarely the case and with good advice and direction the health and safety community can dispel that belief.”
Fellow trustee Karl Simons, Health, Safety, Wellbeing and Security Director at Thames Water, talked about his volunteering in his own local community. He shared a story of a situation at his son’s school where a sports day was due to be cancelled because ‘the risks were too great’.
Karl ended up writing the risk assessment for the event, which went ahead without a hitch. “I want to combat the perception, the stigma and the nanny state perception that health and safety is getting in the way of doing things,” he said.
Richard Orton, Director of Strategy and Business Development at IOSH, who is also a trustee, gave IOSH’s backing. “The groundswell of enthusiasm for this demonstrates not only the skills and knowledge that drive many of safety and health leaders but also their commitment and dedication above and beyond their day jobs. It provides a great new positive platform for all the fine work our members do.”
Lord Dennis Stevenson, co-author of Thriving at Work: a review of mental health and employers, was the guest speaker on the night and addressed the room of practitioners, by saying “you are the professionals of getting risk into perspective”.
He was open about health & safety not being his speciality, but he does know mental health and presented the concerning statistic that 300,000 people, roughly the population of Newcastle, leave the workforce every year due to mental health. He said that “health does, and absolutely should, include mental health”.
“At Thames Water, for instance, mental health and wellbeing is top of the agenda at every single board meeting, as it should be at every company. Every company with more than one employee should have a mental health plan,” he continued.
Lord Stevenson predicted that “by 2020, there will not be a top 200 company that has not made radical changes to its polices on mental health.
“It wasn’t so long ago that people didn’t know how to deal with a cut finger without medical assistance. The challenge now, is how to deal with cut minds” He continued.
Lord Stevenson concluded by providing some advice to companies on how to deal with mental health. He said: “Identify the top ten-20 people that you really rate and pick five of them. At least one of those five will almost certainly have been affected in some way by mental health, be it themselves or a friend or family member. Make it clear to those five people that their career will not be affected by speaking out about mental health and this will soon feed down through the workforce,” he said.
Following the event, Simon Bliss said: “Safety4good has truly taken off. This event has been a huge success made so by the energy in the room and the contribution of all attendees. We had 11 more commitments for mentoring from senior HS leaders to support our mentees too.
“It is truly inspirational to work alongside an industry where the professionals share so much knowledge and collaboration with each other selflessly, to make the world a safer place.”
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Find out what you can learn from Safety & Health Expo
Thinking of joining the health and safety profession at Safety & Health Expo 2019? Find out what happened last year with this free eBook, outlining the insights and developments from the industry:
- How a strategic approach to mental health helps companies;
- Lessons in leadership from Nicky Moffat, a former Brigadier in the British Army;
- The harrowing reality of workplace death;
- The transition to ISO 45001, the game-changing workplace safety standard;
- The 15 most influential people in health and safety;
- The winners of this year’s Rising Star award.
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