June 20, 2018

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Most Influential

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

SHP has announced the list of the 15 most influential people in health and safety for 2018, 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. 

Louise Taggart, a campaigner and speaker travelling the country to reinforce the tragic human cost that can arise from poor health & safety, was named ‘Most Influential’. Driven by the death of her younger brother Michael, Louise speaks to organisations, conferences, unions and many others to drive home the vital importance of establishing good practices, following processes and engaging with the workforce.

Often it is all too easy for news of companies being fined after incidents to go in ear and out of the other, but those who voted for Louise say that she puts a personal face to the too-regular news of incidents and deaths.

“Louise puts heart into health and safety and brings to the forefront the true issues and true heartbreak of what can happen when it goes wrong.”

“She influences ordinary people by her dedication and commitment. It’s easy to have influence in the rather tight circle of H&S professionals but one ‘ordinary’ voice beats a busfull of ‘professionals’ hands down.”

“I have seen the incredible impact of her presentation of those who hear her. Louise has carefully, intelligently and with immense thought and care crafted the account of her brother’s death due to the gross negligence of his employers. She makes a rock solid case for the necessity of strong health and safety laws, enforcement and procedures and the risks of flaunting them. In this way she makes a huge impact on employers, managers and health and safety professionals, reminding them of their duties as well as showing workers their rights and the need to take care.”

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

The rest of the top 15, listed alphabetically, voted for by SHP Online readers is:

Jason Anker most influential

Jason Anker MBE, Anker & Marsh

Since becoming paralysed after a fall from height, Jason Anker has become a regular speaker and trainer, taking organisational change beyond mere compliance for the health and safety sector, by delivering powerful personal messages from either himself or his team about the impact of workplace incidents. Voters commented on Jason’s forthright talks from the position of a worker: “Safety can’t just come from the top, we have to have a variety of tools and Jason’s straight talking hits home for many people”.

“Jason is one of the most inspirational speakers I have ever had the pleasure of hearing! So down to earth. He gets the message across loud and clear and has left an impression on me that I take with me each day throughout my daily life.”

“Jason’s raw emotion and passion to drive forward the importance of health and safety in a very relatable way means that he is influential to all industry at all levels. A true champion.”

Heather Beach, The Healthy Work Company

Heather launched the Healthy Work Company last year to deliver courses in mental health and leadership and has gone on to work with some of the biggest firms in the country on organisational cultural change. Voters say that her work in mental health awareness is “growing an ethos within the industry” and has “set a benchmark” in health standards, when dealing with the often misunderstood topic. She has also done “pioneering” work as Founder of the Women in Health & Safety network, bringing women in the industry together to share experiences, network and create opportunities.

“Heather influences on many fronts; through her work with Barbour, Women in Health and Safety, The Healthy Work Company and many freely given lectures and events across the country promoting mental health awareness and support for workers generally. She has inspired many, including myself, by sharing knowledge and skills without the use of gimmicks or sad stories.”

simon bown most influentialSimon Bown, London Luton Airport

As Head of Health and Safety at London Luton Airport, Simon was an early adopter of the Safety Differently model, encouraging autonomy and trust within the airport’s 750 staff and thousands of sub-contractors to meet the company’s business objective. Voters praised Simon’s role in bringing a positive change to the image of health & safety, moving it away from being a box-ticking exercise towards an “activity that positively contributes to safe and efficient working practice by highlighting the good and positive elements, not just failure”.

“Simon’s influence has far exceeded that of the usual realms of health & safety. His appetite for change and positive working practices is infectious. He enables others to think differently and challenges them to follow through on their ideas. Simon has worked hard to develop not only his own team but a whole tranche of managers who go out and actively look to improve health, safety and welfare in the workplace.”

“He has introduced a new culture of safety around the airport, enabling everyone to feel in charge of their own safety and manage risks accordingly. This has led to health and safety being something that everyone thinks about, rather than just being a tick box exercise.”

Martin Coyd OBE, Mace Group

Martin has used his position as Head of Health & Safety to address the stigma surrounding mental health within construction – called by one voter “the silent killer in the industry”. Through his work to demystify mental health throughout the company and its supply chain he has “driven a behaviour change in the way we look at, monitor & support mental health in the workplace”. Martin is also a champion for LGBT+ issues, another traditionally unspoken topic in construction.

“This one man has done more than anyone to make the lives of construction workers suffering from poor mental health less miserable.”

“Martin is the kind of person who is best described as a leader rather than professional, manager, director or colleague. I have worked as a member of Martin’s team and alongside Martin, and he has never stopped striking me as a one-of-a-kind, unique, inspiring and prominent figure on the professional horizon.”

Craig Foyle most influentialCraig Foyle CFIOSH, IOSH President

Craig has been a member of IOSH Council since 2011, is recent chair and currently the Vice-Chair of the IOSH Consultancy Group, and is on the Executive Committee for the IOSH Humber Branch as well as being a panel chair for chartered fellowship peer review interviews. He has worked to raise the profile of health & safety across the world whilst also pushing IOSH’s Work2022 vision.

“He’s encouraged me and inspired me to get more involved at a level where a difference can be made.”

“Craig has worked tirelessly in his role as President of IOSH. He has done so with great integrity and enthusiasm. Craig has not spent his time promoting himself but promoting IOSH and the valuable work that IOSH members carry out across the globe.” 

Steffan Groch most influentialSteffan Groch, UK Health and Safety Lawyers Association

As chair of the HSLA, Steffan attends parliamentary select committee hearings, speaks at national conferences, and liaises frequently with governmental advisors on policy development. A specialist in crisis management, SHP Readers commented on his “constant devotion” to the health & safety sector and work on “lots of extreme cases such as Grenfell”. Head of the Regulatory team at law firm DWF, Steffan also advises companies, directors and managers with respect to health, safety and environment prosecutions.

“For his work in regard to Parliamentry advice changing the face of politic and reform.”

“He is a thought leader, Chair of the HSLA and a pre-eminent health and safety lawyer.”

Dame Judith Hackitt

The former Chair of the Health and Safety Executive and consultant on health and safety has led the high-profile Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety following the Grenfell Tower fire. She published her report and recommendations in May, strongly criticising the “race to the bottom” in building safety practices with cost prioritised over safety and expressing the need for a “radical rethink of the whole system and how it works”. Last year she also co-authored a book on health & safety with Andrew Sharman, ‘Mind Your Own Business: What your MBA should have taught you about workplace health & safety‘.

Scope of involvement, influence and sustained efforts and contribution across the scope of recent and current UK issues, including her Grenfell review and recommendations.

Prince Harry, Heads Together

He may have had a good year for other reasons, but Prince Harry – Founder of the mental health charity Heads Together, alongside Prince William and Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge – is using his considerable status to spread the word of mental health to a wider audience. A noted former member of the armed forces, Prince Harry has described his own experiences of mental ill health and the benefits of talking about issues and taking part in sport to alleviate the effects. He told the Telegraph: “What we are trying to do is normalise the conversation to the point where anyone can sit down and have a coffee and just go ‘you know what, I’ve had a really s— day, can I just tell about it? Because then you walk away and it’s done.”

“He is using his celebrity to bring a tough subject to the forefront mental health is now out there in the mainstream and being discussed.”

Clive Johnson most influentialClive Johnson, Land Securities

Clive, Head of Health & Safety at commercial property firm LandSec, has played a leading role in shaping the Health in Construction agenda, including Mates in Mind – a mental health initiative for the construction industry – and with Land Securities’ supply chain, delivering “ambitious strategies” across the company and country to create the right safety culture and environments. Clive, says voters, “brings groups together to work collaboratively and breaks down unhelpful political barriers”. His influence is felt around the industry, as he plays a pivotal role in a range of industry groups, including IIRSM, CONIAC, the Health in Construction Leadership Group and the Construction Clients’ Leadership Group.

“He inspires such a wide range of people to see health and safety in a way they have never seen it before. He brings people together and makes connection in a way that enhances the industry in a really powerful way.”

“Clive spends an unbelievable amount of time promoting H&S outside of his own organisation. If he’s not speaking at external events around all things safety, he’s spreading the word about health, wellbeing and mental health. He is a visible leader with a wealth of knowledge and cares passionately about the importance of good safety and health practices in all workforces.”

Karen McDonnell Most influential SHP

Karen McDonnell, RoSPA

As occupational health and safety policy adviser, Karen works with and through RoSPA’s National Occupational Safety and Health Committee, assisting the organisation in identifying routes through which health and safety performance within the world of work may be improved. Active across the whole range of health & safety areas in the UK and globally, Karen contributes to a variety of groups tackling issues affecting all ages and “continues to raise awareness of topical issues ranging from car safely for teenager’s, home safely for toddlers and the elderly and the new LOcHER project to change health outcomes for young people at work”.

“Not just a passionate expert on occupational health and safety, Karen is also committed to raising awareness of how the workplace is a perfect conduit for wider efforts on safety outside of work, not only for individual employees and their families but also for communities.”

karl simons most influential thames waterKarl Simons, Thames Water

Karl has implemented numerous innovative safety and security techniques at Thames Water – as well as a focus on mental health in the workplace. Since joining the organisation he has overseen the prioritisation of safety and wellbeing, with innovative use of training and technology (e.g. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, drone inspections) resulting in greater levels of employee engagement. Based on the triple zero tagline – “Zero incidents; zero harm; zero compromise” – Karl has “spear-headed a massive change in culture and attitude”, giving greater emphasis to wellbeing through a programme for mental health awareness, a physio scheme that allows employees to get up to six physio sessions for any injury sustained outside the workplace (such as through sport) as well as at work, and a programme for annual health checks that checks employees’ blood pressure, eyes, diet, prostate and other to flag any potential issues.

“A great leader, motivator and mentor. A breath of fresh air in the water industry.”

David Smith most influential

David Smith, ISO 45001 committee

David chaired the committee that developed ISO 45001, the international standard for occupational health and safety published in March. The first global standard for health & safety, the long journey to publication began in 2013. Eventually, it will replace up to 24 different standards across the globe. David had to lead “a very diverse team of very far apart opinions” to develop the standard “coordinating a standard/framework that will vastly improve industry globally can only be a major positive and help shape companies safety cultures”.

“He had to persuade hundreds of delegates from nations all around the world, each with their separate agendas. That takes some doing. And now 45001 will influence the lives of hundred of millions for years to come. That is a big footprint!”

Simon Walker most influentialSimon Walker, Mount Anvil

Simon is Health and Safety Director at property developer Mount Anvil. Taking a holistic approach to the safety and wellbeing of staff, Simon was praised by many voters for his creativity and willingness to think outside the box, exemplified by a free Money Doctor financial advice scheme and Phone Home booths allowing workers to call their families. Voters also referred to Simon’s underlying philosophy of coaching instead of policing safety practices.

“Develops and implements progressive, engaging and helpful initiatives for the well-being of employees.”

“Simon thinks outside the box and in doing so gets incredible results. He listens and acts diligently, with passion and in a creative manner that stimulates the immediate conditions around him and positively affects all those he comes into contact with in a truly far reaching and holistic encompassing manner.”

Lawrence Waterman most influential SHPLawrence Waterman OBE, British Safety Council

Lawrence is currently the chair of the British Safety Council, the Managing Partner at the Park Health and Safety Partnership, and was formerly Head of Health and Safety for the London Olympic Delivery Authority, where he oversaw the safest Olympics build on record. Lawrence is delivering “notable, inspirational and relevant” leadership for current events: following the Grenfell Tower disaster a year ago, Waterman was one of the architects of the infamous open letter from safety organisations and practitioners to the government, calling for it to abandon its red tape cutting objectives. Lawrence is also looking to the future of health & safety, helping to launch the BSC’s new manifesto, ‘Combating risk in the digital age‘, late last year.

“He combines clarity of thought, statesman like gravitas and the perseverance to make progress for the whole profession.”


Congratulations to everyone nominated and to all those who made the final list.

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