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June 19, 2019

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SHP Most Influential

SHP’s Most Influential figures in health & safety named at Safety & Health Expo

SHP has announced the list of the 10 most influential people in health and safety for 2019, voted for by SHP readers.

Voted for by SHP readers the list, which was announced at Safety & Health Expo today, recognises those who have successfully inspired, engaged and driven change in occupational health and safety in the UK over the last 12 months.

It is testament to the developing nature of health & safety, containing mental health champions, innovators, industry figureheads and those putting the stark reality of poor health & safety front-and-centre and driving change at the front line.

Karl Simons, Chief Health, Safety & Security Officer, Thames Water, named at the Most Influential.

Karl Simons right), collecting his award from Chris Edwards, Director for Safety & Health Expo, Facilities Show, Barbour EHS and SHP Online.

Karl has played an important role in working with the government to help secure a change in the law to protect mental health in the workplace. He has also implemented numerous innovative safety and security techniques at Thames Water, including the use of drones – as well as ‘Time to Talk’, a focus on mental health in the workplace. His work has seen Thames Water reduce work-related illness absence by 75% in the last five years.

“Karl has worked tirelessly to further the cause of mental health in this country, pushing the agenda at every corner, lobbying and assisting government and large organisations towards ensuring that mental health is looked at in every work place.”

“He is an inspirational leader. His sheer determination to bring mental health to the very top of the agenda has been awe inspiring.”

 “The work Karl has done in bringing mental health into the mainstream is outstanding.”

 “He is challenging stigma and raising the profile of health and wellbeing up to the same level as safety.”

 “Karl has done so much for safety, health and wellbeing across so many subjects – safety, risk, mental health, physical health etc. He has also liaised with government to further the mental health at work agenda and has helped bring this subject to the forefront of peoples focus in business and society too.”

More about Karl’s work and comments from voters can be found on SHP’s Most Influential profile.


The rest of the top 10, listed alphabetically, voted for by SHP Online readers is:

Heather Beach, MD, The Healthy Work Company

Delivers courses in mental health and leadership and has worked with some of the biggest firms in the country on organisational cultural change. Founder and active Chair the of Women in Health and Safety network. Put together the Mind Matters video series to raise awareness of mental ill heath in the work place.

“Heather interacts with a variety of industries and people on all levels from employee to senior management. Her attitude is so positive about health and safety.”

“Heather’s dedication to mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is unwavering. Her application of and her commitment to research in the area of Positive Psychology is forward thinking and Heather walks the walk in her work, inspiring others to do so too.”

“Because of her zest, enthusiasm, determination, focus and devotion to the quest of helping others to thrive.”

“Heather works relentlessly to make sure that staff and managers in the construction industry get what they have deserved for a very long time – solid mental health awareness training and help where it is needed. A force to be reckoned with, she will be responsible for saving lives – no doubt!”

Simon Bliss, MD, Principal People

Simon Bliss

Launched Safety4Good, a campaign to encourage health and safety professionals to give either their time or their money to help raise the profile of the profession. Since its inception, Safety4Good has signed up over 650 supporters who have donated more than 200 days and helped 11 different charities including Mind, Great Ormand Street Hospital, RNLI and Woman’s Aid, by raising over £42,000.

“For his work influencing the perception of the H&S profession and help changing the stereotype for good.”

“The Safety4Good campaign, whilst only recently having been launched, is already seeing many leading H&S professionals giving up their time to charities or offering mentoring opportunities to our future H&S professionals, all of which will make a huge difference to the individuals and organisations who don’t currently receive the support of the great and the good.”

“Simon has dedicated decades of his professional life developing a strong and reliable workforce of safety professionals to support business from both, the private and public sector, through effective recruitment.”

“He has created the biggest initiative for the positive impact of health and safety in years.”

Martin Coyd OBE, Head of Health and Safety – Construction, Mace Group

Has done significant work on mental health in the construction industry, leading the Building Mental Health Framework and is passionate about making every work environment a healthy, safe and happy place to be. Speaks regularly at conferences and exhibitions to help tackle the stigma of mental health in the workplace.

“Tireless work to bring Mental Health to the forefront of conversation around issues we need to tackle in industry.”

“In the hard, macho world of construction Martin’s voice reaches and touches people who would not otherwise care. And when it comes to caring, Martin truly does so!”

“A truly inspirational health and safety leader. His ‘no nonsense’, ‘just get on with it’, attitude has brought together a wide range of organisations in the construction industry to tackle the issue of mental health. He has been truly a leading light in developing the Building Mental Health Framework. Martin has also championed other difficult issues like LGBT demonstrating a clear connection with health & safety and doing the right thing. One of the best things about Martin, is that he comes across as honest, likeable and genuine and motivates others to get involved and make a difference.”

“Martin is an inspirational and supportive character, one who willingly challenges the norm to find a better way.”

Ruth Denyer, Group Operational Risk Director, ITV

Ruth DenyerPassionately believes that health and safety should be viewed as a risk profession. Has become a Trustee on the IIRSM Council. A supporter of Safety4Good and the Women in Health & Safety network.

“Ruth is inspiring, committed, passionate and collaborative.”

“Has rewritten the health and safety rule book. Her approach to safety management is transformational and inspiring. Showing that safety works in partnership with business to improve the business bottom line and protect employees, customers and business in unison.”

“Ruth is forward thinking, linking health and safety to the wider ‘risk’ agenda. This is the direction the industry needs to go to be effective and relevant in increasingly dynamic times.”

“Ruth genuinely believes that people want to do the right thing and encourages this way of working, she has changed the way of working by allowing flexibility and giving the business ownership in the risks they are taking.”

“Ruth is really challenging health and safety professionals to change the conversation to one about risk and desired outcomes, risk appetite and giving those at the front-line permission to manage their risks. This ‘letting go of control’ to those who know most is a real shift.”

Dr Judith Grant, Director of Health and Wellbeing, Mace

judith grant maceChair of the Women in Health & Safety network. Regular speaks about the importance of tangible and strategic wellbeing at work. She has contributed to a positive safety culture in Mace and improved the awareness of mental health, its impact in the workplace and solutions to reduce the associated risk through her ‘time to talk program’.

“Judith has made an impact on women in health & safety and collaboration with foreign companies from developing countries.”

“She is not afraid to show her vulnerable side to emphasise that mental health can affect everyone.

“Judith is hugely passionate about workplace health and wellbeing. She has not just confined her expertise at Mace in developing a wellbeing culture, she has demonstrated thought leadership across her challenging sector and beyond.”

“She has driven wellbeing up the agenda from virtually nothing, to embedding it across the whole organisation.”

“She puts her heart and soul into her work and is dedicated to helping people understand health and wellbeing.”

Dame Judith Hackitt

The former chair of the Health and Safety Executive, a leading consultant on health and safety in the UK and has led the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, ‘Building a Safer Future’.

“She always has been a very sensible and influential person within the health & safety field, particularly in trying to get rid of some of the regulations which tended to bring the profession into disrepute.”

“Because of the work associated with the Grenfell enquiry.”

“In the Hackitt review, her recommendations were strongly endorsed by the Government at the time and could enact significant change to fire safety in the industry.”

Dame Judith Hackett took the enormity of the task with all due gravitas, grabbed it, scrutinised, questioned, provoked debate, overhauling on legislature, and culture, did not procrastinate or be fearful of the report’s findings and recommendations.”

Steve Hails, Health & Safety Director, Tideway

Steve HailsResponsible for the successful implementation and application of the RightWay health and safety principles and for encouraging the demonstration of transformational health and safety performance by those delivering the Tideway project. Steve is Chair of the Board of Trustees for Mates in Mind, President of the Construction Health & Safety Group, an Executive member of the Health in Construction Leadership Group and Chair of the Transforming Tunnelling Safety Group and the Infrastructure Client Group H&S. In 2019, Steve was recognised as one of the Top 10 Corporate Allies in the National LGBT Awards.

“Steve is such an influential and charismatic leader and he uses these skills to try and make life safer and healthier for us all.” 

“Not only does he encourage and lead by example for health, safety and wellbeing within the industry, he’s also an inspirational advocate for mental health awareness within the construction industry, continuously raising the bar for projects going forward.”

“Set the mark for the best approach to health, safety and wellbeing on a major project in the UK.”

“He was influential in the development of Mates in Mind recognising that poor mental health leads to more deaths through suicides in construction than accidents. Steve is a huge ambassador for the industry and how the industry can and is changing.”

Prince William, Mental Health at Work

Launched Mental Health at Work programme, an online gateway to help companies improve staff wellbeing. Was behind ‘Shout’, a text messaging service for people experiencing a mental health crisis.

“He has made mental health and wellbeing a subject that can be talked about and has been instrumental in breaking down the taboos and misconceptions surrounding people’s mental health issues.”

“Hugely impressive in the way he is not afraid to raise a difficult subject and get involved practically (for example the recent programme ‘A Royal Team Talk’) giving a very wide level of publicity to the subject.”

“Someone with the gravitas and sphere of international influence as a Member of the Royal Family championing the importance of mental health. A royal backing of such an issue fast-tracks the legal, commercial and economic focus which is needed to change thinking concerning Mental Health. Having Prince William leading this effort should accelerate and expand the rate of response, positive change and most importantly enterprises focusing on this real 21st century concern.”

“Prince William is a real inspiration and has make a real difference in breaking the stigma around mental health.”

Dylan Roberts, Skanska, Co-Chair of the Health in Construction Leadership Group

Dylan RobertsHas been leading Skanska UK’s injury free environment programme which has seen a cultural shift in Skanska leading the business towards a declared future of Zero accidents and a culture of care and concern. As part of the Health in Construction Leadership Group, he helps formulate strategies for leading UK construction activities through design, construction, maintenance and demolition.

“Dylan has a wealth of knowledge in the Safety and Health within the Utilities Sector.  He is a true leader and through setting high standards leads a very influential team.”

“Dylan is visionary and considered as an industry ‘go-to’ globally, within the construction industry. He secured employee ‘buy-in’ across Skanska for health & safety years prior to his peers in competitive companies.”

“Dylan is a remarkable wellbeing and safety leader, always determined to push the boundaries, with endless determination to make good things happen and inspirational across the construction industry.”

“Natural leader, great communicator, genuinely passionate about the wellbeing of the people around him and the wider community.”

Get Your Free Ticket to Jonny Wilkinson's Talk at Safety & Health Expo 2019

Arguably one of the best-known rugby players in the world, Jonny Wilkinson CBE famously kicked the drop goal that won England the 2003 World Cup with just seconds left in the final. Much of Jonny’s success on the field, however, took its psychological toll. Jonny has dealt with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. In his honest, unguarded speech, entitled ‘Success on the field and mental health: a personal account of understanding what matters’, Jonny will recount how his focus and dedication to the sport he loves meant overlooking important parts of his life.

Hear Jonny Wilkinson at Safety & Health Expo | ExCeL London | Thursday 20 June | 11:30 - 12:30 

Jonny Wilkinson

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