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November 23, 2023

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SHP’s Most Influential list announced

Following your nominations we’ve produced a list of 2023’s Most Influential people in the profession.

Our list celebrates people who have been inspiring, engaging and driving change in occupational health and safety in the UK over the last 12 months, and was compiled from your public nominations, in collaboration with the SHP Awards judging panel.

Many congratulations to all 26 nominees for their achievements in the sector and passion for health and safety.

HSE Recruitment Network sponsored the awards and its Associate Director Laura Aucott was part of the judging process. She had the following to say about this year’s entrants: “I was delighted to be involved in curating the shortlist for this year’s Most Influential Award. The number of nominees put forward by the safety community was simply staggering, and I wish we could have shortlisted everyone. It really does show just how passionate safety professionals are and how many professionals are out there making an impact, not only ensuring that everyone returns home safely but also helping to change the perception of health and safety and demonstrate what a truly worthwhile profession it is.


This year’s Most Influential list and award is in tribute to Mavis Nye, who very recently passed away. Mavis won the award in 2021 for her campaigning around asbestos awareness, following her own diagnosis of mesothelioma in 2009. Her influence in the wider sector will continue to be felt, and it seems fitting that this year’s Most Influential award is in her recognition.

The Most Influential individuals for 2023 are…

Martin Bardle, Global Employee Health and Safety, Quality Compliance and Corporate Security Director, Reckitt

Martin’s influence in the corporate world includes encouraging and developing leaders, OSH professionals and ex-forces and passionately advocating for DEI. He has been recognised for continuously supporting and influencing others around him with his encouragement, passionate drive and positive attitude. Although, for Martin, it is not just his corporate influence, he has also been commended for his influence beyond work, by giving back to the community. He is a Trustee and Chairman of the EHS committee at St Anne’s Community Services – a service running care homes, supporting assisted living, shelters, and alcohol and drug rehabilitation services. Martin was also recently shortlisted for an award at the British Forces in Business Awards, for Military Values in Business category. He has been praised for his level of courage, determination and resolve that influences both individuals and organisations inside and outside of the OSH environment.

Mark Cardnell, Health, Safety and Wellbeing Management Consultant

Mark Cardnell makes the most influential list for the second successive time but his appearance is by no means a token one. Last time around he was praised for his work during Covid, supporting the UK Government’s health and safety strategy in care homes and healthcare establishments. This time, his appointment as health and safety subject matter expert for the UK’s biggest hospital-building programme in a generation, the New Hospital Programme (NHP), is the reason for his listing here and affirms once again his standing in the wider health and safety sector.

Kelly Cartwright, Owner & Director, Core Recruitment Ltd

Kelly runs a recruitment agency, providing services to the building and construction industry. She found herself in the spotlight of both trade and mainstream media when she rocked up to an industry awards ceremony in an evening gown made from high-vis vests. She is quoted as saying she has always struggled with anxiety and imposter syndrome, and when she was invited to the awards, she decided to wear what she felt comfortable in – PPE.

Naz Dossa Peoplesafe CEONaz Dossa, CEO, Peoplesafe, Chair, BSIA Lone Working Group

Naz Dossa is chair of the BSIA Lone Working Group, and CEO at innovative lone worker tech firm Peoplesafe, where the company have just signed a deal with Apple to carry its enterprise-level personal safety app on its watches, underlining the firm’s innovative use of technology for worker safety. But it’s the company’s alignment with a range of powerful stakeholders around harassment and stalking including the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and Crimestoppers has seen its work go beyond the workplace to societal impact. A worthy inclusion.

Alistair Donaghey, Regional Head of Safety, Willmott Dixon Construction

Sometimes a nomination comes in that goes beyond health and safety and into society and Alistair Donaghey’s spearheading of the ‘Ready for the Gate’ programme is one such example. The programme enables inmates to undertake CITB-accredited health and safety training and obtain their CSCS cards, meaning they are job-ready upon leaving. “Whilst we couldn’t directly employ these men, we knew we could help make them employable,” Donaghety wrote in a blog.

Katherine Evans, Geologist and Consultant, Bold as Brass

When geologist Katherine Evans wrote an article for SHP sharing her experiences of ill-fitting PPE, it struck a chord with many of our readers. In fact, this response would ultimately fuel a new campaign that SHP are soon to launch around inclusive personal protective equipment, of which, Katherine is set to be one of the key figureheads. She has also set up the Bold as Brass a support network and community for women in construction, mining and quarrying. The LinkedIn group currently has just under 1,000 members.

Melissa Fazackerley, Director, Dimension HS Ltd

With 20 years in construction and 16 of those in health and safety, Melissa is currently a SHEQ Consultant, described as inspiring yet humble, a guiding light in the sector and the first to help someone who may be struggling either professionally or personally. She is striving to make changes in the facades industry and collect data for benchmarking health and safety. From engaging and encouraging her network and beyond on LinkedIn, to volunteering at the Wigan Youth Zone to help young people gain the right skills to enter the workplace, she has been praised for her encouraging and knowledgeable nature. She has also set up a safety social network in the northwest to support other HS professionals and give them the opportunity to develop. Melissa has been recognised as one of the NFBs Top 100 Influential Women in Construction 2023 & IIRSMs 40 under 40 2018.

Christian Harris, Owner, Slip Safety

If you’re one of Christian Harris’ 27,000 LinkedIn followers you’ll be aware of his swathe of free safety content covering podcasts, virtual roundtables, a myriad of insightful blogs and articles; you might even subscribe to his newsletter along with approximately 8,000 other people. If a health and safety digital influencer exists then it might just be Christian. Yet his goal is simple, selfless but ambitious – to help reduce slip risk, something that remains the single largest cause of accidents, injury and claims in the UK. At the moment the figure has flatlined but expect to see it fall as the result of Christian’s work makes an impact – already he has helped thousands of sites reduce their risk over the last decade and his mission is set to continue for at least a few more.

Steven Harris, Director, Integrity HSE

“Steve is a values-driven force of nature in the world of health and safety and I am sure he does lots more that I am not aware of…but I can promise you that he deserves this nomination and every piece of recognition that comes with it.” This conclusion to the nomination for Steven Harris is heartfelt and genuine and by itself could have caught the judges’ attention, however, the supporting evidence lists his work around mentoring, lecturing and volunteering his free time to help guide energy trade associations in their health and safety challenges. “These are just some of the ways that I know we all (in the energy industry and beyond) benefit from his impact, influence, and leadership,” the nominator says, affirming his position on this year’s list.

Heather Beach, Founder and Director, Healthy Work Company

Since forming Healthy Work Company in 2017, Heather Beach’s influence within the wellbeing at work sphere has gone from strength to strength. It’s a sphere that might seem rather saturated at the moment (fruit and desk yoga anyone?) and is in danger of blurring into tokenism, but Heather’s drive to extract real insight and facilitate meaningful shifts ensures it remains high on the agenda with tangible outcomes.

Keith Hole, Director, TSM UK

Keith makes the list of most influential being described as a leading light in the field of health and safety, embodying integrity, knowledge and inspiration, leading others to be the best they can be in the field. Keith mentors safety professionals to attain chartered and chartered fellow memberships of IOSH. Described as supportive and encouraging, he serves as a strong advocate for mental health and shares complex information in a clear and understandable way in a series of articles covering subjects such as working at height and confined spaces.

Bethany HolroydBeth Holroyd, UK Health & Safety Business Partner, WSP

A strong advocate for an inclusive workplace, Beth Holroyd continues to inspire, motivate and lead the next generation through talks and blogs that cover confidence, communication and resilience. Previously an SHP Rising Star award winner, her elevation to this list affirms her potential in the sector.

Stewart Mardle, HS Manager, BT

An IOSH Chartered Fellow, Stewart Mardle has been praised for his expertise in working at height in the telecoms sector, mentorship, guidance and being a driving force in industry groups. In 2020, he was part of a team that created the Mast and Tower Safety Group (MATS) EUSR Basic Tower climbing and rescue scheme, which is now the industry standard for climbing in the Telecoms sector. To further improve safety in the sector, Stewart developed the EUSR Rooftop Worker – a safety and access training scheme that was launched in January 2023 and is the industry standard course required for working on flat roofs. He has assisted NEBOSH in re-writing the NEBOSH Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health, turning it from a closed book memory test to a practical application of H&S, in line with what H&S practitioners do today.

David Mark Parsons, Assistant Director of Health and Safety, Swansea Bay University Health Board

Mark contributes a significant amount of his time to the public sector health and safety community. He chairs both the Health and Social Care Specialist Interest Group and the IOSH South-West Health and Social Care group. He has been described as always up for a challenge, no matter who or what the issue. Often in his own time, he attends NHS recruitment panels (in organisations that he doesn’t work for) for senior Health and Safety professionals. During the pandemic, Mark liaised with NHS England, Care Quality Commission, HSE and World Health Organisation in relation to providing standards and guidance for healthcare providers. Around the crisis in PPE shortages, Mark would be at the delivery distribution point at 6am, waiting for deliveries of PPE, to then be sent out and wider afield. Mark continuously supports colleagues with a wise and thoughtful approach and his peers would like to highlight his dedication and service to the sector.

Sandi Rhys-Jones, President, CIOB

“It amazes me that we expect anyone to want to work in our industry when we can’t give them the basic kit to keep them safe,” wrote Sandi Rhys-Jones in a blog for SHP earlier this year, an article that ultimately kick-started our forthcoming inclusive PPE campaign (alongside another piece from Katherine Evans), an initiative that could ultimately force change for many who are unable to work in the correct protective workwear. Rhys-Jones, in her role as President at CIOB aims to dedicate her tenure to make this change happen.

Glenn Ridsdale, Consultant, Gauged Solutions

Glenn has been described as the ‘epitome of a Health and Safety professional’, a genuine and authentic leader, who galvanises and influences others in order to inspire them to achieve beyond boundaries and constraints of personal and set goals. He has been praised for empowering his colleagues to lead by example, to make a tangible difference in occupational health and safety, and is a knowledgeable and trusted expert. Glenn has been described as a unique person who is able to influence at all levels, from challenging C-suite executives across industries, cultures and continents to mentoring new professionals, in his own time, to become rising stars in their own right. Glenn also worked with EMCOR UK in developing a transformational behavioural safety course, which has resulted in over 400 employees of EMCOR UK becoming more confident and competent safety leaders, along with shaping the internal culture within the organisation. Glenn’s depth of knowledge and anecdotal methods of storytelling break the mould of traditional health, safety and wellbeing driving both curiosity and positive change.

Karl Simons

Karl Simons (OBE), Executive Director, FYLD

Karl is no stranger to this list having won the accolade back in 2019 for his work while at Thames Water. However, a recent move to tech firm FYLD has seen his skills guide the use of AI to help forge a national digital database of the country’s underground assets. His lobbying to Government and ability to get all UK water companies on board has ultimately made a tool that could reduce accidents when it comes to the maintenance of this vast and unwieldy sector.

Dave Smith, TUC Tutor, TUC

Dave Smith’s book Blacklisted published in 2015 helped highlight the plight of thousands of construction workers unfairly banned from working having raised concerns around welfare, including issues of health and safety. Smith’s investigation ultimately brought historic high court actions and substantial compensation for some workers, yet he continues to raise awareness on the topic, continuing to write and speak on its impact. Dave is also an inspirational campaigner and speaker on all aspects of workers’ lives and health. He is also a TUC tutor, training safety reps in health and safety at work and also writes the ‘Organising 101’ column in Hazards Magazine.

Hugh Maxwell, Director, Maxwell Safety Ltd.

Hugh’s approach to health and safety is that sharing is caring. He influences aspiring and established risk/HSE professionals internationally and supports businesses in improving their safety cultures. His current role supports the international mining programme, Anglo American, as part of a global Safety Culture Change programme – Safety Leadership Practices. It is described as revolutionary to the industry – evolving around the Safety Culture Maturity Model (SCMM). The aim is to engage, support and reshape the behaviour and values at all levels, through a programme called My Team My Accountability, based on Safety Leadership Practices. Hugh has been commended for his ‘walk the talk’ approach of sharing, developing, and influencing others – making everyone safer both at work and home – giving back whenever he can, recognising that the values, expectations and motivators for different people and cultures are different. He received the IIRSM Mentor of the Year 2022 award, is a voluntary chair of IIRSM Fellowship committee. He coaches/mentors over 30 risk and safety professionals throughout Africa, Asia and elsewhere in their pursuit of career growth, increased safety awareness and achieving their career and professional ambitions.

Kathy Seabrook, CEO, Global Solutions Inc.

Kathy Seabrook is a management consultant, coach and published author in health & safety. She’s both a US Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and a Fellow of IOSH. Having made a name for herself in the US, she’s now also making a big impression in the UK and Europe. Kathy helps companies manage their environmental safety and health risks through their sustainable business strategies. Earlier this year she gave an engaging speech about ESG, saying: “It’s important to understand that even if you think this isn’t for you, your organisation may be tapping you on the shoulder tomorrow morning. From an ESG perspective, it really is an investor focus – and the investors are basically saying we need clear, concise, measurable, transparent and assured data. Data and data management is your friend because you really need to rely on technology for that. It’s not about us having a seat at the table – we are the table, and we just need to recognise that.”

Teresa Swinton, CEO, Paradigm Human Performance

Teresa started her company Paradigm in 2017, with the intention of raising awareness of the transformational benefits of Human and Organisational Performance (HOP) across the globe. Her mission was to create “safer, healthier, and more respectful workplaces where individuals were respected for their subject matter expertise (a key tenet of HOP) and valued for their personal contribution to creating safety and building trust and transparency”. Nearly seven years on, despite a number of challenges, the brand is now globally recognised and utilised in over 78 countries.

Rhaynukaa Soni, Head of Health, Safety and Wellbeing – Home Counties, Thames Water 

Rhaynukaa Soni is an extremely well-respected voice in the sector who continues to challenge the status quo. Her strong leadership skills have been honed across large infrastructure projects including HS2 and clients including TFL. She has recently switched industries from transport to utilities where she is Head of Health, Safety and Wellbeing – Home Counties at Thames Water and continues to Chair the influential IOSH London Metropolitan Branch, a role she has held for nearly five years.

Andrew Saunders, Operational Policy Advisor, BSR (Building Safety Regulator)
Post-Grenfell, the introduction of the Building Safety Act is being seen as one of the most important pieces of health and safety legislation for some time. Overseeing its implementation is Andrew Saunders at the HSE, who in his role as Operational Policy Advisor at the newly formed Building Safety Regulator will be influential in bringing together an array of stakeholders to ensure the Act’s smooth transition.

Carole Spiers, Founder, Stress Awareness Week

Carole is Founder and Chair of Stress Awareness Week – an annual event, which began in 1998, dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of managing stress and promoting mental well-being. The campaign educates individuals about the physical and psychological effects of stress, as well as the various strategies and resources available for stress management. Through workshops, webinars, and community initiatives, Stress Awareness Week encourages people to recognise the signs of stress, seek support, and develop healthy coping mechanisms to improve their overall quality of life. It serves as a reminder that stress is a common challenge and that proactive self-care is essential. Carole has spoken at conferences and events including EHS Congress 2023, has her own monthly newsletter focused on stress updates and stress tips, and is an active figure on LinkedIn with nearly 10,000 followers. Her dedication, passion and leadership have been described as having a profound impact on the sector.

Jon Ruddock, General Manager, LEAP Scheme

Jon RuddockJon makes the list of most influential for his impact in moving Leisure and Entertainment Action on Performance (LEAP) from an idea two years ago to a functioning organisation that has the support of the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA) and the approval of the HSE. LEAP aims to improve safety standards in leisure facilities such as amusement parks, water parks, and entertainment venues. The scheme follows the System for Safety of Attractions and also aims to go beyond this by certifying operators of leisure equipment, the way their equipment is maintained as well as proving the competence of a LEAP Inspection Body. It provides a framework for operators to assess and manage risks, and includes training and monitoring to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both staff and visitors. By implementing LEAP, leisure industry operators can demonstrate their commitment to safety, enhance their reputation, and create a secure environment for all users.

Lawrence Webb, Immediate Past President, IOSH

Lawrence handed over the IOSH Presidential baton to Stuart Hughes recently, concluding 12 months of duties, speeches and plenty of hand-shaking. Yet away from the pomp and ceremony the former Group SHE Strategy Director at Costain worked hard behind the scenes to raise awareness around neurodiversity and position the sector as an attractive career option by seeking to encourage a wave of fresh talent.

Home page image credit: Feng Yu / Alamy Stock Photo

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