Informa Markets

Author Bio ▼

Charlotte Geoghegan is Event Manager for Safety & Health Expo and SHP at Informa Markets. She is responsible for content, strategy and sales of physical events and digital products. She is also an active member of the Women in Health and Safety committee.Before Charlotte went into this role she was Head of Content for the Safety & Health Expo, SHP, IFSEC, FIREX and the Facilities Show. She joined Informa (previously UBM) in 2015.Charlotte has spent 10 years in media & events and her academic background is in modern foreign languages. You can find her on LinkedIn here
December 17, 2021

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SHP's Most Influential

SHP’s Most Influential figures in health & safety named for 2021

Dr Mavis Nye, President and Co-Founder, Mavis Nye Foundation, has been named as the Most Influential Individual in health & safety. She tops the list of the 15 of the most influential people in health & safety in 2021, as voted for by SHP readers. Here we highlight the achievements that have led to these people making the list, including comments from the public vote.

SHP Awards - Most Influential FeatureSHP Most Influential is brought to you as part of the wider SHP Awards which, for 2021, is in collaboration with Shirley Parsons, HSEQ talent experts. It recognises those who are successfully creating sound health and safety cultures in their organisations, or the profession at large.

The list below was put together from public nominations and then put to public vote. It celebrates people who are inspiring, engaging and have been driving change in occupational health, safety and wellbeing in the UK and beyond, over the last 12 months.

Dr Mavis Nye, President and Co-Founder, Mavis Nye Foundation, voted Most Influential

Mavis Nye most influentialMavis has been described as a ‘tour de force, and an absolute dynamo for Asbestos Awareness’. She lives with Mesothelioma every day of her life, having been diagnosed with Mesothelioma in 2009.

It was during her treatment, that she decided early on that something needed to be done. Today, she spends her life campaigning for asbestos awareness and removal and her work is internationally recognised. Supported by many influential people, she is in demand for presentations to spread the word.

Previous winners include Hilda Palmer, in 2020, Karl Simons, in 2019, Louise Taggart, in 2018 and John Green, in 2017.

Click here for more on Mavis’ success, why she won and read comments from voters.

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

Simon Blake, Chief Executive Officer, Mental Health First Aid England

MHFA CEO Simon BlakeSimon has continued his relentless work in support of mental health in all sectors of our economy. He has led MHFA to introduce the ‘Bring your whole self to work‘ campaign and continues to champion mental health support for young people alongside racial and gender equality for all at work.

“He has been like a beacon of light and hope throughout the pandemic, focusing on wellbeing and fairness and equity. Simon is a tireless campaigner with a platform that lives and breathes inclusion. The world needs a lot more awesome humans like Simon.”

“Simon has become an influential voice in mental health. He leads by example and is not afraid to share his vulnerabilities with others on his social media platforms. In return, he gains respect and empathy from within the sector as well as from the public. Simon is passionate about the work of MHFA England and is a leader to be admired.”

“Simon has steered us through a very difficult time in the world, learning and ultimately growing into the leader needed to navigate these times. He is inclusive, trustworthy, caring and an advocate for good health and wellbeing for all.”

Rachel Butler, Head of Health, Safety and Risk, Bruntwood

Rachel is ambassador for NEBOSH and Safety4Good and an advocate for her profession, helping people to realise her passion to protect people. She participates as a guest speaker for IOSH in the ‘Future Leaders’ events, supports and gives time to advise on new innovations and organises events, such as HSE’s breathe freely, health and wellbeing workshops and women in health and safety networking.

During the pandemic, Rachel has shared her procedures and best practice, recognised as industry best practice through the Considerate Constructors Hub for all to see. She has also offered her time to try and help small local businesses reopen safely. In 2019, Rachel was an SHP Rising Star finalist.

Rachel has proven to be a highly influential person in health & safety with her work in both influencing women in construction and health & safety while coaching and mentoring trainees/graduates. I fully respect how far Rachel has come.”

“Rachel’s passion and enthusiasm for Health, Safety and Risk is nothing short of infections. She works tirelessly, in her role at Bruntwood and externally within the H&S sector, to advocate for change, improvements and to make H&S more accessible and not a chore. Rachel is a great help to me within my sustainability role and has been key to supporting policy change internally.”

“When you think health and safety and influential first person who comes to mind for myself is Rachel Butler. I am an apprentice who just a year ago didn’t really know about health and safety and I saw Rachel on LinkedIn. Her story inspired me to do NEBOSH general certificate and now I’m on my way to do my diploma.”

Crystal Danbury, Director Safety, OpenReach

Crystal makes health and safety real, by listening and taking people on the journey with her. She has shared her views and thoughts on diversity in the workplace, based on her experiences in a range of primarily male dominated sectors.

In a relatively short period of time, she has been able to change the safety culture of Openreach.

“I’ve never met anyone so passionate about the safety of her team. Crystal takes a hands on approach to safety, working with those involved (directly with, e.g. doing their job with them for a time) to understand the potential issues with processes first hand. She doesn’t just design safety processes from her desk – she truly listens to the people who do the job day in, day out. Her approach ensures people get home safely, every day.”

“Crystal has Pioneered safety for now decades across a multitude of industries from engineering to retail, she has had a huge influence on thousands of people and leads culture change from the fore front, not only in Safety but in diversity also. Crystal lives and breathes these values in her day to day and has the experience to create open and honest conversations with anybody, thus not only talking about change but implementing it too.”

“Crystal’s direction and influence in the safety space is unbounded. She is a true pioneer and is proving that safety is all about people and not process. She has transformed both the shape and direction of corporations when it comes to safety.”

Kate Field, Global Head Health, Safety and Wellbeing, BSI

Kate FieldKate is an industry expert on psychological health and safety and the new ISO 45003, which she helped to structure. She has used her global influence to champion health, safety and wellbeing as the primary driver of an improved an balance in both personal fulfilment and organisational resilience. She supports and promotes the profession through her voluntary work and coaching activities. Kate has worked with the United Nations Industrial Development Agency on Industrial Safety culminating in a handbook which has been translated into several languages. Kate has also developed and published a new best practice-based framework on workplace wellbeing, the Prioritising People Model, encouraging a real culture of change and ensuring inclusive and equitable organisations prioritise the physical and psychological wellbeing of their people.

“Kate’s insights have improved the global mental health picture via workshops for thousands of delegates across hundreds of countries. Her work to raise awareness and communicate the importance of psychological wellbeing has been shared across countless organisations. Kate is a champion for ISO 45003 – the world’s first international standard on psychological health and safety. She has developed the world’s first training course and certification scheme, enabling organisations to demonstrate their commitment to mental health.”

“Kate has developed and published a new best practice-based framework on workplace wellbeing, the Prioritising People Model, encouraging a real culture of change and ensuring inclusive and equitable organisations prioritise the physical and psychological wellbeing of their people.”

“Kate is a champion for ISO 45003 – the world’s first international standard on psychological health and safety. Kate draws on her own personal journey to support those around her.”

Paul Hendry, Global Vice President for Safety, Jacobs

Paul has helped change the profession when it comes to mental health, from starting the mental health matters program, which has now trained over 2,000 mental health champions, to creating One Million Lives, a proactive mental health campaign that has positive mental health and wellbeing at its heart. One Million Lives was made free for anyone to access anywhere and allows people to regularly take a mental health check and get access to free resources.

“Year on year Paul has consistently passionately championed Health and Safety best practice both within his own organisation and the wider landscape – delivering both fantastic results but also just as importantly motivating others to take his lead and share his passion for driving safety practices to ever higher levels.”

“I have seen the dedication and work Paul has put in to develop and implement the 1 million lives. And to make it available to all.”

“The work Paul has done on Mental Health is hard to understate, not only the improvement in quality of life, he has given to many the tool of one million lives. This cannot be understated in its importance, impact and instant positive return on wellbeing across the globe. The tools this platform provides has personally helped myself and many of my friends and connections cope with mental health challenges and countless others, the timing of the work will have also helped thousands around the globe during the current pandemic also.”

Keith Hole, Director, TSMUK

Keith HoleKeith has been instrumental in driving for mental health provision for OSH professionals and has delivered above and beyond to ensure that OSH professionals have access to innovative, interesting and informative content and online sessions throughout the challenging lockdown periods.

“Keith is a proven expert in the field and he goes above and beyond to spread the message and share his knowledge to help others through consistent, valuable participation in webinars and educational events. I have been fortunate to hear him on a number of occasions, his commitment and enthusiasm are unmatched in my opinion.”

“His dedication to health and safety has been demonstrated through years of service but also his promotion of diversity & inclusion in the health and safety community is admirable and deserves recognition.”

“Keith does amazing work promoting health and safety in a passionate, educated and accessible manner. Gender equality is also high on his list and he tirelessly works to connect people across the industry for the greater good.”

Jessy Gomes Moreira, Technical Safety Lead, UCL

Jessy has been inspirational and passionate in promoting equality and diversity within the health and safety profession and the UK construction industry in particular. She is a champion of diversity and inclusion, having gone through discrimination and being forced to leave her job after returning from maternity leave. She has made it her mission to share her story, empower other women and bring the issues women face in the industry to the forefront.

To this end, she sits on various committees, writes, speaks, and contributes to thought leadership. She founded the Pracademic, where she continues her research, contribution and provides a platform for women in health and safety to champion the causes dear to them. She mentors and coaches women who want to join the industry, have issues at work, and want to level up in their careers.

“This woman inspires me every day. As a young black female working in a male dominated environment, she demonstrates the highest level of leadership to all within the H&S field. She never quits even in the face of inequality, discrimination and she almost certainly is a force to be reckoned with, a true superstar.”

“Jessy is a fresh voice to the profession highlighting the importance of gender sensible approaches to occupational safety and health in traditional male dominated working environments and sectors. She’s also a driving force in demonstrating how diversity, equality and equity matters in managing workers’ wellbeing.”

“Jessy is having a significant impact on HSE discussions and bringing these to a wider audience. She has spoken up on issues within the construction sector of mental health and the intersection with being a black woman and being a new mother including the discrimination faced. Her posts on social media, her research, her recent TedX talk and her work show her making a jolt on the construction industry to spark essential significant changes . Her drive and motivation for change and creating better ways is immensely impactful – not just through personal experiences but through grounded research.”

Gill Kernick, Master Consultant, JMJ Associates

Gill KernickGill is a consultant, specialising in safety leadership and culture, and she has been a high-profile voice on the subject of the Grenfell Tower fire. In 2021, Gill published a book, ‘Catastrophe and Systemic Change: Learning from the Grenfell Tower Fire and Other Disasters,’ which explores the myths, the key challenges and the conditions that inhibit learning, and identifies opportunities to positively disrupt the status quo.

“Gill has done more for raising awareness in fire safety in the last four years than most have done in a lifetime. Authentically and unapologetically vulnerable in her delivery. Principled, measured, and a cultural disruptor to facilitate more meaningful change in the built environment. A leader where others follow and try to emulate. Principled and honest.”

Her book, informed by professional knowledge but also highly personal experience of Grenfell, is seminal, tackling not just technical issues but also the entrenched cultural, institutional & systemic failings which are much more difficult to define & counter, but absolutely critical for the future. Her public dignity & clarity in a David & Goliath struggle with multiple establishments has been exemplary, & will be a model for similar campaigners for years to come. A giant of a woman.”

“Her book ‘Catastrophe’ and all the public events and communication she has done around it offer a foundational and comprehensive new vision for how societies can prevent disaster. It builds on a career of work on safety culture, intensified by personal experience with the Grenfell Tower disaster. Her book should be on all safety professionals’ reading lists. It is revolutionary and practical.”

James MacPherson, Health, Safety and Environment Manager, Glass and Glazing Federation. Co-Founder, Project Mollitiam. Host and Producer, Rebranding Safety Podcast.

James has founded Project Mollitiam, with Colin Nottage, a group dedicated to empowering, challenging and raising the bar for health and safety professionals. He runs the Rebranding Safety podcast and, in his day job, has spearheaded the creation of a complete ethical business framework for the Glass and Glazing Federation. He’s tirelessly pushing boundaries and raising standards across the board. He refuses to accept lazy or subpar safety decisions.

“James works tirelessly in his day job and his spare time in an attempt to help reduce fatality rates and keep people safe at work. His passion for his field is incomparable and he lives and breathes his work. He is constantly learning and loves to pass on that knowledge to others in hope of building safer working environments for all. He is a great communicator, with a gift for translating complex themes, using story telling and modern media to enable everyone to engage. He is humble and welcoming, co-founding his own community where others feel safe to be their true selves which has had a significant impact on his own mental health as well as that of others. He truly deserves to be recognised for all of his hard work.”

“James’s work on Rebranding Safety has been pivotal in creating a groundswell of people and groups of people who are passionate about changing the reputation of our profession and adding value through our work. He is committed, determined and singular minded. Even better – he’s courageous and has integrity. A real beacon of hope for the future of HSE.”

“He speaks the peoples language, he continues to ask questions and doesn’t pretend to know all the answers. A person who shares content and insights into practical health & safety done well.”

Hugh Maxwell, EMEA Director, Chubb

This year Hugh continued mentoring a global community of over 20 rising HSE professionals, which has global impact on the future of the profession. He was presented with Rookie of the year award by CGRA, for his first-year contribution to the business risk management. In EMEA, he supported a number of small construction and other businesses in their COVID recovery strategies and policies, supported the approval of a number of IIRSM approved courses and presented at the XCEL occupational health summit on COVID-recovery.

“Hugh is enthusiastic and passionate about making health and safety matter to all. He is a great communicator in this field and has a very good way of portraying his expertise in this field to any audience at any level. A very deserved candidate indeed.”

“Hugh has been an exceptional and an inspirational individual in spearheading changes in the HSE field. He has been instrumental in helping many OHS officers in attaining goals in their career. Hugh has not only been a Mentor but also a great adviser.”

“Hugh is a supreme mentor and gives his time to the next generation of health and safety specialists freely. He also has a far reaching role within Chubb to spread best practice to a wide range of organisations.”

Rory O’Neill, Occupational Health and Workplace Safety Adviser, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). Professor, School of Law and Social Justice, University of Liverpool. Editor, Hazards magazine, and TUC weekly RISKS ezine

Rory has worked at a national and international level throughout the pandemic in many networks of occupational health and safety activists, sharing information and analysis of all the issues around trying to keep workers safe in a viral pandemic. He has distilled key information and best guidance from all over the world and made sure it is available to trade unions, safety reps and other activists, who can use it to protect workers and public.

Throughout the turmoil of the pandemic, he has worked with the ITUC on gaining governmental and occupational health specialist support for trade union demands that the right to safe and healthy work be made an ILO Fundamental Right at work.

“Rory’s advocacy to protect the safety and health of workers has reached and impacted people far and wide for decades. He knows what is happening both locally and internationally. The way he communicates with the wider international safety and health network – through various media – is both educative and inspiring.”

“Rory has been relentless in his pursuit of worker safety for decades. His work influences and informs people in the UK and across the globe. His work around COVID and sharing what’s been happening around the world have been invaluable to people in the UK and in the US.”

“Rory has been very influential within the health and safety community internationally and in particular within the United States. It is very generous of him to share information and resources that help to provide comparison and context to policy and collective bargaining solutions to many hazards.”

Ian Tasker, Scottish Hazards Advice Centre

Ian has provided advice and support to hundreds of individuals over the course of the pandemic, helping to keep them, their families, and their colleagues safe from harm. This past year and more, he’s not only provided huge amounts of COVID-related advice and support, he’s also provided a multitude of training courses to TU reps, responded to numerous consultations, undertaken complex FOI exercises, as well as providing much needed support to families who have lost loved ones in work-related incidents as they navigate our justice processes, and leading our work around International Workers’ Memorial Day.

“Ian is largely responsible for the fact I now am able to tell Mickey Tam’s Story. Because it was his suggestion that got me the first ‘one-off’ opportunity to do so. He’s one of the people I wish I’d never had to meet, because our paths only crossed as a result of my wee brother’s death. But I’m eternally grateful our paths did cross. He continues to inspire me through the work he does day-in day-out to keep others safe and healthy. He’s made health and safety his life’s work, and is an invaluable source of knowledge, advice and support. He has been unwavering in his pursuit of safer and healthier working conditions during the course of the pandemic, assisting hundreds of people and organisations. And has been unstinting in his support of family members who have lost loved ones at work, some of whom are needing that support very many years after their loved one’s death. He’s been an inspiration to me for many years, and particularly so this past year.”

“His work in Scotland has actively helped some of the most vulnerable workers, particularly in providing COVID workplace advice. He is also ensuring health and safety is high on the agenda in Scottish government.”

“Ian is a font of knowledge on health & Safety as I have heard him speak on many subjects, including schools built on toxic waste grounds to name a specific subject. But goes to show the depth of Ian’s knowledge, which influences many on many subjects.”

James Quinn, Senior Health and Safety Manager, Multiplex. IOSH Immediate Past President

James QuinnIn October 2020, James became the second career soldier to be named IOSH President in its 75 year history. He has been a member of IOSH for over 10 years, since leaving the army, and has publicly spoken about how IOSH assisted him in his transition to “civvie” street. James has used his platform as President to raise the profile of veterans and how he sees the route to safety as a valuable career for armed forces veterans. He has tasked IOSH to set up a LinkedIn page for Armed Forces and Veterans, those that have left are in the process of leaving. He has engaged with the CEO and IOSH Senior Leadership Team to show them the value of the service leader and how the service leader can add value to all organisations.

James has given up much of his time to engage with the MOD in assisting with their Health and Safety days and promotions as well as speaking about his own experiences, as someone who came through PTSD. He is an advocate for mental health awareness and has led many panels and webinars on the subject.

“As a veteran, Jimmy has served our country in more ways than most. As IOSH President he has made some really positive changes in the IOSH community and has orchestrated people coming together during one of the most difficult periods of times we have known. He is approachable and always open to sharing his knowledge and bringing experts together.”

“Leaving the military can be a very difficult process for most people, having someone like James as a role model to show you what is possible can make the process a lot easier and smoother, also having the IOSH Armed Veterans group is a brilliant resource to connect with other people that have been through the process of transition back into civilian life.”

“Jimmy consistently practices positive health and wellbeing across the capitals largest and most prestigious construction projects. Constantly setting high boundaries, breaking down barriers and ‘practicing what he preaches’. Jimmy positively influences hundreds of people from different backgrounds on a daily basis.”

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Advisor to the Government

Chris WhittyAs Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, Chris has continued to be a voice for the government, giving medical advice and guidance to senior ministers, as well as to the wider public during.

“Over the past 18 months Chris Whitty has been both attacked and praised in equal measure for trying to provide sound, risk based advice to the Government. He has been dealing in a world we as safety professionals inhabit with lots of shades of grey and imperfect information being asked to make decisions and put his reputation on the line. He deserves to be recognised.”

“Prof Chris Whitty became an overnight household name with his key involvement during unprecedented times with the emergence of the pandemic. A face that people came to trust and rely upon in challenging times; his voice of reason, empathy and logic has steered us in the right direction to help best manage the risks we all face whether commercially or domestically.”

“He’s been the voice of reason throughout the pandemic; respecting and balancing the safety risk of contagion with the need to protect NHS colleagues and other key workers. He explained what risk assessment was all about and shamefully showed how late the HSE came to the table to protect workers.”

Click here to view all SHP Awards winners for 2021.

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