Assistant Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

January 30, 2020

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SHP Rising Stars

‘The best part of my role is making a noticeable difference’: In conversation with Toby Cook, SHP’s Rising Star Utilities winner

At Safety and Health Expo in June 2019, Toby Cook was announced the winner of SHP’s Rising Star Utilities Award. We caught up with Toby, to ask him about how he stays motivated at such a young age.

SHP’s Rising Star Utilities Award is open to anyone under 30 years old, demonstrating health and safety excellence in a construction setting. At the time of the ceremony and winning the award, Toby Cook was a Trainee Advisor at Laines Group, he has now become Central South Health and Safety Advisor at Lanes Group.

Congratulations on winning the Rising Star Utilities Award 2019, judges describes you as being “young and driven”. Can you describe what your role as Health & Safety Trainee at Lanes Group entailed?

Toby Cook (TC): “When I was a Trainee Advisor, my role was essentially to shadow a qualified advisor, learning how to audit reactive work sites, developing risk assessments and method statements, as well as enforcing general company Health and Safety policy.”

“Once I gained my qualifications I took over as Central South Health and Safety Advisor.”

What are some of the challenges in your role?

(TC): “With over 150 engineers in my area, coordinating health and safety requirements can sometimes be a challenge.”

“I need to factor in different shift patterns across a 24hr period 7 days a week in one of the largest and busiest areas of the network. Being human I am only able to be in one place at a time.”

What is the best part of your role?

(TC): “I would say the best part of my role is making a noticeable difference, and knowing I’ve done my absolute best to ensure that everyone is able to complete the work properly and in a safe manner.”

“I enjoy the balance of being able to travel site to site, seeing the work happen and not always getting stuck in an office. I also relish the opportunity to use my qualifications to get my hands dirty when specific high-risk activities happen, such as needle removal.”

What advice would you give to someone that is young and wants to start their career in the health & safety industry?

(TC): “My best advice would be to just dive in. Take every training opportunity you get offered and take time to learn the job. A technical knowledge will help make the health and safety applications more straightforward and practical.”

What motivates you to work hard at a young age and how would you want to use winning SHP’s Rising Star Utilities Award to achieve some challenges in your role?

(TC): “I stay motivated because I enjoy the sense of achievement and like to be at the top of my game. I would like the award to reflect my abilities in my role and attain the recognition I’ve worked hard for. The final thing I would like to mention is to encourage young people to broaden their horizons and think outside the box when it comes to applying for jobs.”

Motivation for working hard

Toby Cook Rising Stars

Toby Cook collecting his award from Simon Bown, HSQE Director at KeolisAmey Docklands.

Toby swayed the judges with his motivation for working hard at a young age. Aged just 19 and new to health & safety, Toby has immersed himself fearlessly but intelligently in his role, showing maturity and imagination to make a major impact. In doing so, he has shown initiative, innovation and determination which has contributed to the health, safety and wellbeing of colleagues. A keen cyclist, he has used his risk assessment and safety training to advise his cycling club’s coaches on carrying out dynamic risk assessments of activities undertaken by the youngest members, aged six to 17. He has also been asked to advise on the safety of competitive cycle courses for young riders.

Despite being young, Toby showed maturity skills in an industry that takes years to “get a hang of” said judges he is “young and driven”. Judges were impressed with how he used his imagination to create fresh ideas, they added “although he hasn’t been in the industry long, he showed signs of being very motivated”.

Judges were also pleased with his time management in balancing his work with studies, as well as with his external input in communities, by working with sports clubs that struggle with safety sport such as cycling, “it’s good to see him helping out in his local sports club”.

Judges concluded that Toby has a strong future in health and safety for being determined to succeed at such a young age and that he had “come in and got hold of it”.

Toby recieved his award from from Simon Bown, HSQE Director at KeolisAmey Docklands.

To read about the winners in the other categories, click here..

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