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September 21, 2010

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Gail Wroth – How did I get here?

How did you get into health and safety?

I have worked in the entertainment industry for the last 30 years and safety has always been a big part of this. One of my previous jobs was technical manager for Live Nation. I was invited to join the team that looked after health and safety in all the Live Nation venues in the UK. While there, I joined IOSH as a Tech member and I have continued to develop my knowledge since. I am now head of production – technical services at the Arena and Convention Centre in Liverpool.

What qualifications do you hold?

I hold the NEBOSH Certificate and I have other certificate qualifications in areas ranging from working at height and risk-assessment trainer through to manual-handling trainer.

Which aspects of your health and safety role do you most enjoy?

I enjoy planning work-at-height activities, health and safety audits, and noise-at-work issues, which are a big part of what we do, owing to the arena space on site. I also enjoy accident investigations – looking into the cause and effects. I like helping production companies that come to us with little or no H&S knowledge stay safe while they are on site.

What have been the highest and lowest points in your career?

The highest point was working for the Live Nation team, and also being able to work in a venue such as the ACC Liverpool. With both an arena and a convention centre there’s a different challenge every day! I haven’t really had a low point as I am an optimist. I can turn a challenging production company that doesn’t believe in safety into one that does.

What has been the biggest change in H&S since you have been working in it?

In my industry it has been the Noise at Work Regulations and the development of working safely at height, especially in the rigging industry. I also think how accidents and near misses are reported and the data used has improved.

What do you think will be the biggest developments in the next 10 years?

There have been a few fatal incidents over the last few years in entertainment rigging, with riggers falling out of roof spaces. The PLASA international rigging conference this month will go a long way to improving awareness in this area. I also think employers will become more aware of the need to train people – especially in high-risk activity jobs.

If you were prime minister for a day, which H&S law(s) would you introduce, or repeal?

I would make every driver take the bike CBT (compulsory basic training). There is so much more a car driver can learn about being safe on the roads by taking a CBT. On-the-spot fines for builders who don’t comply with H&S on building sites would also be on my list – using the money collected to raise safety awareness.

How do you capitalise on your IOSH membership?

It gives me help every time I need it – from the website through to networking with the local authorities. My CPD development is also important to me.

What are your top two tips on getting a job in health and safety?

Train in how to do the job! If you know your chosen career well, then safety is good common sense. What is difficult is to try to do a safety job with no experience in the field in which you are working. Stick to what you know and are confident with, then slowly build up your knowledge, or you could end up in a sticky situation.

Who has had the biggest impact on your career, and how?

Conrad Schwarz at Live Nation and Chris Higgs at Total Fabrications. Both have continued to lead the way in safety for my industry and have really inspired me to stay safe. Also, Jeremy Stranks and Allan St John Holt for producing the best research books!

If you could be anything other than a H&S practitioner, what would you be?

If I were to start again it would probably be in collecting evidence from train or plane accidents.

CVGail Wroth
2007 – presentHead of production technical services, ACC Liverpool
Technical manager and H&S coordinator, Live Nation
2000-2002Technical manager, Gaiety Theatre, Dublin
1998-2000Technical manager, Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon


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