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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
July 1, 2011

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Warren Fothergill – How did I get here?

How did you get into health and safety?
Having served in the RAF I needed transferable skills, and subsequent research led me to health and safety. I completed the NEBOSH Certificate and the NEMBSM Diploma in 1995 and was required to submit a ‘Safety Management Report’ for a company. Having completed and submitted the report, the Local Authority visited and subsequently issued a number of formal notices, which supported my report.
What qualifications do you hold?

I passed the ‘Open Assessment’ for CMIOSH NVQ Level 4 in Occupational Health and Safety; NEBOSH Certificate; Train the Trainer in Manual Handling Operations; Train the Trainer in LPG Refuelling; Professional Trainers’ Certificate (CIEH); Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board (six units); Lead Auditor ISO 14001; Lead Auditor ISO 9001; BTEC Diploma in Business Studies. I am also currently studying for a BSc in environmental studies.
Which aspects of your health and safety role do you most enjoy?

The variety of the role – from training to site auditing, to mentoring and conducting risk assessments and method statements.
What have been the highest and lowest points in your career?
The lowest point was when I left the RAF in 1998 and it took more than a year to get a health and safety post, because I had no ‘commercial experience’, or was ‘over-qualified’. The highest point was when I gained employment with Siemens. It is the challenge of working for such a major company that makes it so worthwhile and the fact it embraces health and safety in its culture.

What has been the biggest change in H&S since you have been working in it?
The cultural changes. Since I started work in industry in 1999, the change in attitude towards health and safety has been remarkable. While you still hear of many companies being dragged kicking and screaming, many now accept it for what it is and use it to their benefit – improving the bottom line and preventing accidents and incidents.

What do you think will be the biggest developments in the next 10 years?
With the current coalition government, the simplification of all the legislation will be interesting.
If you were PM for a day, which H&S law(s) would you introduce, or repeal?
I would start from scratch. The principles of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 and the Management Regulations are, in essence, a catch-all – they require all the relevant aspects to be done, risk assessments, etc. – so why we need specific regulations is beyond me. This is even more so when there is a prosecution, as the regulation (if there is a specific regulation) limits penalties.
How do you capitalise on your IOSH membership?
I attend branch meetings when I can and read my SHP and online news. I know I could do a lot more, but it is time-permitting.
What are your top two tips on getting a job in health and safety?
Ensure you have the qualifications!  Getting an employer to provide them from the onset is too burdensome. Show enthusiasm and realism – it will make you stand out.
Who has had the biggest impact on your career, and how?
Martin Kemp – production director at J&A (International). He gave me my first opportunity in health and safety management and encouraged me in the face of some adversity. I have repaid his faith in me (I hope!)
If you could be anything other than a health and safety practitioner, what would you be?
The English Lionel Messi – enough said!!

Warren Fothergill – CV

  • 2009 – now    HS&E Advisor Siemens Energy Services
  • 2008-2009    HSE Manager for VT Environmental Engineering
  • 2007-2008    General Manager for Recylet Ltd
  • 2003-2008    HSE Officer Knauf Drywall
  • 1999-2003    Health, Safety, Environment & Quality Systems Manager J&A (International) Ltd
  • 1986-1998    Royal Air Force

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