October 29, 2020

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James Quinn takes over as IOSH President

Multiplex’s Senior Health and Safety Manager succeeds Dr Andrew Sharman at the helm of Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.

James QuinnJames Quinn, Senior Health and Safety Manager for international construction contractor Multiplex, has been confirmed as the new IOSH President. Speaking at his appointment, James highlighted that, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing uncertainty, now is “an important time” for the profession, with businesses turning to safety and health professionals as they seek to protect their people and their futures.

He said: “Organisations around the world are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are having to deal with resurgences and localised lockdowns. It has been a very difficult time for businesses across all sectors.

“One key focus for them is the need to ensure they keep their people safe – managing the risks of COVID transmission and all other safety and health risks. Safety and health professionals are front and centre of this, guiding their businesses through these difficult times.

“Business leaders are turning to safety and health professionals to ensure they can navigate their way through this turbulent time. They want to ensure that they can protect their people, which, in turn, protects their business.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is unpredictable and provides us with uncertainty over what is going to happen in the next year. But the one thing we can be certain of is that IOSH will be right behind its members and the businesses they work for.”

His statement echo’s the thoughts of his predecessor, Professor Dr Andrew Sharman, who recently spoke in-depth to SHP in a two-part interview for the Safety & Health Podcast.

Andrew told SHP that “people are recognising that the OSH profession has this amazing opportunity right now, as organisations are asking practitioners to help to guide, to shape, to direct, how to get through the pandemic.

“Quite often, health and Safety practitioners are only asked to help out things have gone wrong. So being pulled into the mix and then trusted, I think is a great thing.”

Supporting businesses into the future

One of James Quinn’s focuses for his Presidential year, is to ensure the profession supports businesses into the future, it is crucial that it continues to recruit a high calibre of people. He said there are two ways to achieve this: Through people seeking a career change moving into safety and health and through those starting their working life.

James himself is an Army Veteran of two-and-a-half decades and said the support he received from IOSH and some of its members when he changed career was invaluable.

After leaving the Armed Forces, he joined Babcock International PLC as a Health, Safety and Environment Trainer, then Advisor, before becoming Health and Safety Manager for a large Middle East transport group.

James then became Area Occupational Health and Safety Manager for Multiplex in Abu Dhabi and is now Senior Health and Safety Manager for Multiplex in the UK. He is currently overseeing health and safety at Multiplex’s prestigious Broadway construction project in Westminster, London.

A Chartered Fellow of IOSH, James is also a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and Vice-Chair of the IOSH Construction Group, the Institution’s largest specialist sector group.

“The guidance I received from IOSH helped me navigate the difficult transition into a new career. Without that support, I wouldn’t be speaking to you as President today, and I am grateful for that. I am keen that people who are starting out in the profession, whether it’s their first career or they’ve just made a career change, receive the same level of support as I did.”

James was confirmed as President for 2020-21 at the IOSH AGM. He succeeds Dr Andrew Sharman, who becomes Immediate Past President. Meanwhile Louise Hosking was confirmed as President-Elect and is due to become President in Autumn 2021.

Three new Vice-Presidents were also confirmed: Ciarán Delaney, Lawrence Webb and Neil Catton.

Safety & Health Podcast

Listen as Past President Andrew Sharman reflects on his year as IOSH President, expresses his views on the future of the health and safety professional and looks ahead to what is next for him in this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast.

In this episode, James talks about how the pandemic has affected the construction sector and the mental health of those working within it, his work promoting veterans and his plans for his tenure as IOSH President, including how the importance of providing the correct support and guidance people starting out on career in safety.

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