PepsiCo EHS Specialist, Sam Watts, has been named as the winner of the SHP Award for Rising Star in Manufacturing.
The SHP Rising Star Awards celebrate young, high-performing health and safety professionals. Some of the brightest, most passionate young stars of the profession.
Rising Star in Manufacturing recognises individuals in the UK manufacturing sector going above and beyond to improve occupational health, safety and/or workplace wellbeing.
Sam Watts, PepsiCo EHS Specialist, was selected as the winner of SHP’s Rising Star in Manufacturing Award from a list of two finalists, by the SHP Awards judging panel.
Rising Stars is brought to you as part of the wider SHP Awards, in collaboration with the HSE and IATP.
Sam ‘fell’ into safety six years ago after starting a EHS temporary admin role whilst waiting to join the police force, quickly realising her passion for all things health and safety. She worked at Marks & Spencer, in automated distribution for five years where she had the opportunity to learn complete professional qualifications, making the leap into manufacturing earlier this year, working for Walkers Crisps, PepsiCo.
Sam is responsible for implementing digital solutions to record, investigate and analyse incidents in order to ‘work smarter’, improve stakeholder visibility and effectively manage actions. A key focus within this was to ensure that she brought the workforce along with her, specifically the management population who would be the end users. This was done through interactive training sessions that heavily focused on the moral reasons we investigate and their role in preventing incidents, in addition to root cause analysis coaching and how to use the system itself.
Sam’s response to COVID-19 stood out to the judging panel, as she helped implement additional controls to ensure the safety of not only staff, but also their families. This included sourcing and implementing additional rest facilities, setting and maintaining social distancing standards and completing the site COVID Risk Assessment. This has been imperative as she works within an exceptionally busy food manufacturing facility which has continued to run safely throughout, despite being inside increased localist restrictions in Leicester.
The panel also highlighted how Sam is not only new to her role but has only been in manufacturing for six months. However, she is already bringing way of thinking to an established organisation through challenging the status quo. This has included challenging metrics and streamlining processes to ensure that the team focus on the right priorities in challenging times. Judges also highlighted her leadership skills, setting direction and coaching others to progress themselves and were impressed at the impact she has had in such a large organisation, in such a short space of time – especially when considering that she joined amid pandemic.
On hearing the news, Sam told SHP: “I am truly grateful to have been selected as the winner for the award, especially against some excellent nominees, whose bio’s I enjoyed reading.
“It is always a privilege to be recognised externally to my workplace, but in addition to this, I have been blown away from the support I have received since the announcement from current and previous colleagues – it means so much to me to hear that they see the award as well deserved!”
Read the full interview with Sam, here.
Safety & Health Podcast
Hear SHP’s interview with Sam and listen to some of her interesting and innovative safety ideas and how she implemented them in her business.
Subscribe and tune in the Safety & Health Podcast to discover the latest issues facing the health and safety profession, and stay on-top of the developments affecting your role, from working at height, lone working and common workplace hazards, to safety culture, behaviours, occupational health and mental health and wellbeing.
The Safety Conversation Podcast: Listen now!
The Safety Conversation with SHP (previously the Safety and Health Podcast) aims to bring you the latest news, insights and legislation updates in the form of interviews, discussions and panel debates from leading figures within the profession.
Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, subscribe and join the conversation today!