January 24, 2024

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‘I want our readers to feel they can share their own personal stories so others can learn’: Karl Simons on his role as SHP Editorial Board Chairman

Ahead of his year as Chair, SHP Editor Mark Glover caught up with Karl Simons OBE to discuss his goals and plans as he spearheads the title’s editorial strategy.

Karl Simons OBE with the SHP Editorial Team Rhianna Sexton and Mark Glover. London, January 2024

Karl Simons has achieved much in his career. An engineer by trade, he took his skill into the military before entering the safety profession working across sectors including facilities and utilities, picking up an OBE along the way – as well as SHP’s most influential award in 2020. He is co-founder of Fyld, a tech start-up that utilises AI to keep field workers safe. On being announced Chairman, he spoke to Editor Mark Glover on what the role means and what he hopes to achieve during his tenure.

Mark Glover: What was your motivation for accepting this position?

Karl Simons: Two reasons: Firstly I’ve never underestimated what it takes to be a Health and Safety professional whether working on your own in a small company or leading a major client organisation with a large team, the daily challenges, ups and downs, successes and, at times, working in the face of extreme adversity, challenge my peers face which I fully understand as I’ve lived in their shoes at some point in my own career. I’ve always said being a Health and Safety practitioner is arguably one of the toughest roles in society as we often have no budget, no resource and thus no authority – as this is all contained in the operational line, but we are expected to lead and affect change, so our greatest ability to enact this is in how we communicate and great health and safety leaders do it in a way that brings people with them.

My second reason is giving back. Throughout my career I have had the pleasure of learning from some incredible leaders and this, I believe has stood me in good stead to understand how to take on the role of setting SHP’s editorial direction, overseeing content quality, and ensuring that its content align with its mission and values and are what our readers want and need to hear about.

MG: What can we expect in your first year?

KS: By listening to my peers within the community and learning from the people who contribute their time, energy, and expertise to share their stories that create content that interests our readers. We have a broad group around the table working alongside me, which means we can maximise outputs through our shared experience and knowledge working closely together to shape the strategic direction of this respected title.

I really want our readers to feel they have a voice and feel they can share their own personal stories so others can learn. Everyone should have the opportunity to be proud to feature at least once in their professional title.

MG: How will you lead the Editorial Board?

KS: I believe in fostering a culture of collaboration, innovation, and continuous improvement. Anyone who gives their time and energy to work alongside me deserves my utmost respect and commitment. We will come together regularly as a team of trusted confidants and I will endeavour to create an environment safe to challenge each other, where innovation and vocalisation of risk are encouraged without fear of reprisal – something I have always maintained throughout my career in the teams I’ve led.

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