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February 6, 2024

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IOSH’s Aviation and Aerospace Conference: SHP speaks to Birmingham Airport’s Simon Toseland

SHP speaks to Birmingham Airport’s Head of Health, Safety and Fire, Simon Toseland, ahead of IOSH’s Aviation and Aerospace Conference 2024.

Created by IOSH’s Aviation and Aerospace Group, the conference, taking place on 29 February at the London Heathrow Marriott Hotel, will address emerging health and safety risks in the industry, including discussions on electric vehicles in aviation, wellbeing, PPE for women, and the Building Safety Act.

Hi Simon, could you tell us about your role?

Simon Tosleand, Head of Health, Safety and Fire at Birmingham Airport.

As Head of Health, Safety and Fire at Birmingham Airport my key responsibilities are to manage the Corporate Occupational Health, Safety and Fire Strategy and Management system which is certified to ISO 45001.

I also volunteer as the Chair of the IOSH aviation and Aerospace Group, The aim of this Group is to offer professional health and safety guidance and advice to all stakeholders in the industry.

Are there any sector specific challenges to health and safety in aviation?

At an airport, we have many on-site companies and it is imperative for one of our specific challenges to be maintenance; to maintain engagement with the wide variety of stakeholders that operate on our facility, this would include airlines, baggage handlers, concessions, contractors and temporary workers.

We all play an integral part in the development of the overall health and safety culture.

What’s one emerging health and safety risk within the sector?

The introduction of advancements in technology can bring many benefits, but it’s crucial that the opportunities and risks are fully appraised and assessed to ensure that any new hazards are controlled and implemented in a safe way.

Introducing new technology, for example, can place additional psychosocial demands on colleagues, especially if it significantly changes how their work is performed or if the new technology feels unfamiliar.

Why is a focus on wellbeing important?

A focus on wellbeing is absolutely crucial, particularly in a safety critical environment, such as an airport. A happy and healthy workforce will be more engaged, more productive and be more successful.

Health and safety in itself can really help the wellbeing culture to thrive, for example heat stress, verbal abuse, noise levels and ergonomic issues can all have a negative impact if not effectively managed.

We’ve seen fires at Luton Airport’s car park, and more recently at Bristol Airport‘s car park, which damaged 11 vehicles. Are you concerned by the frequency of these events? What can the safety profession do to try and prevent them from happening?

Firstly, my thoughts to go out to everybody that has been impacted, and relieved that not one was seriously harmed or injured. As with all fires, it is crucial that we review the investigation findings and ensure that lessons are learnt or new procedures implemented.

What are you most looking forward to at the conference?

We have got an incredible day planned with speakers and industry leaders, but overall I am finally looking forward to personally meeting our members face to face.

This is our first physical conference since before COVID and I have spoken to so many colleagues virtually, I can’t wait to finally them in person. It’s these people working in aviation safety day to day that are the real experts.

For more information on the conference and to book tickets, click here.

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