Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

Author Bio ▼

Ian joined UBM in 2018 as the Online Editor of Safety & Health Practitioner. Ian studied journalism at university before spending seven years in online fantasy gaming.

Prior to moving to UBM, Ian worked in business to business trade print media, in the automotive sector. He was Online Editor and then moved on to be the Editor of two publications aimed at independent automotive technicians and parts distributors.

March 26, 2019

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Safety Bytes

‘The future looks bright if we embrace technology in the right way’, says Thames Water Safety Director

In the latest of its Safety Bytes videos, Irwin & Colton meets Karl Simons, Director of Health, Safety, Security & Wellbeing at Thames Water.

Karl discusses the latest trends around technology and innovation and the importance of this to the modern-day health and safety professional. He highlights some of the innovative initiatives that his health and safety team have introduced in recent years and talks about how technology can bring huge advantages to health and safety.

“You have to embrace innovation and technology,” Karl says. “I think the modern-day health and safety professional is constantly striving for what’s next.”

He goes on to discuss the challenges and expectations posed at board level and how he gets buy in from his executives. “For me, innovation doesn’t come from an individual, it comes from a collective team of minds, that actually, when stimulated in the right way, can get some amazing outcomes.”

Thames Water provides its staff with an annual confidential personal medical assessment, something Karl believes very strongly about. In Thames this started in 2013 and it’s been highly successful, leading to many people getting support for issues they were unaware of. “We do things like blood pressure testing, cholesterol tests, blood sugar levels. We then started do free cancer testing. I’ve had over 100 abnormal results for prostate cancer and five confirmed bowel cancer cases, for instance.”

Karl also looks at where the profession will be in the future, and how artificial intelligence may play a part in information gathering. “The modern professional, 20 years ago, is very different than the modern professional today. 20 years ago, we were inspectors of sites, investigators of incidents. Now, we are more strategically aligned in the business operating model of the companies, and we are much more leadership engagement professionals. In 20 years’, hopefully, there’ll be no injuries. There’ll be no need.”

Hear Karl’s colleague, Carol Moore, Head of Health & Safety, Statutory Compliance & Assurance, Thames Water, speak about technology in more detail in SHP’s Technology Debate webinar, this Thursday.

Last week, SHP reported that Karl will chair the Safer Highways’ Mental Health Summit at the House of Commons on 20 June.

Irwin & Colton is a specialist Health and Safety recruitment company, based in the South East of England and recruit across the UK. They recruit all roles in the health and safety industry from Health and Safety Advisor, through to Health and Safety Director positions.

Click here for more Safety Bytes.

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