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June 16, 2015

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Strategically align health & safety in businesses

Karl Simons

The health and safety professional’s profile has never been so visible but being a technical expert is no longer enough. Professionals that have been elevated to company boardrooms also need strong business skills to make their mark.

As Karl Simons, head of health, safety and wellbeing at Thames Water, will explain this morning at the IOSH conference, recent high profile cases have demonstrated that responsibility for managing health and safety starts at board level. However, professionals need to ensure that their business acumen matches their specialist technical skills.

In a though-provoking session that follows the keynote address, Mr Simons will argue that health and safety professionals need to understand the holistic challenges facing an organisation before they can determine and implement effective health and safety management.

Thames Water’s head of health, safety and wellbeing will examine the challenges facing leading professionals and how they can remain the respected technical expert while also contribute to the overall business strategy and influence operational delivery decisions.

Health and safety professionals, he will argue, have little resource, little budget and therefore little authority as these are all held in the operational line. However, it is the professional’s ability to influence through their excellent communication skills that is their most prized asset.

Mr Simons will also tell delegates that leaders at boardroom level need to hold a good understanding of health and safety, so that the guidance they receive can be better understood and better acted upon.

Karl Simons is speaking this morning at the IOSH conference from 10.20am.

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