Message hits home for IOSH president

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 28 Mar 2018

PRESIDENT of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Craig Foyle, was granted a first home town audience by Grimsby Renewables Partnership.

As reported in December, the New Waltham consultant was elected into the role at the helm of the global organisation, with prestigious engagements taking him around the world. 

Invited to speak to the town’s safety-critical cluster, he said: “I’m travelling internationally to speak so to be invited to something locally is terrific.”

The renewables industry, with huge pieces of heavy infrastructure, high voltage electricity, operations at height and in a marine environment, takes safety extremely seriously, prioritising it above all else.  It meant he found a welcome ‘mooring’ at Humber Cruising Association.

“Safety and health can be a positive thing to talk about at work it if comes across in the right way,” he said, telling how he had noticed a difference on his arrival.

“Normally when I go to a bar and say what I do, people step to the side, so I’d like to thank people who allowed me to keep going!”

Read more: Small business focus from revitalised group of health and safety specialists

Explaining his career path, from glazing to engineering, working for Jex before launching his own consultancy that has seen him build on in-depth experience with food and chemical giants, he told how he took on the safety remit early, while joining local groups and being elevated up the ladder.

“I still find it hard to believe I’m president,” he said, but underlined how he is keen to capitalise on it. “I want people to see the pro-active side to safety and health, I am quite energetic, and I am keen on continuous professional development and pushing that forward.   

“I am really keen to promote what good safety and health looks like, and want people to say ‘we do it really well, nothing we do can make you doubt it’. 

One of his first visits was to the Humber Bridge, and he is keen to use his position to help boost the area. 

“If you have really good ways of maintaining safety, I will be really happy to see it,” he told. 

“I have never stepped off a boat on to a wind turbine before, but if you can share that, we certainly shall. If you have a good safety reputation, thrive on it, and keep learning. 

“If you have people doing the right thing again and again and again, you will have the right message.”

Offering advice and caution, he told of some of his learnings, which include factoring in safety and health at design, or even feasibility stage of a project, while endorsing Tidal Transit’s points about safety first.

“We cannot just accept someone turning up without competencies,” he said, of the industry that is transforming his town’s fortunes. 

“The biggest thing is integrating safety and health in to decision making. Often there is a big project and someone like me is brought in later.

“Think about everything, about maintenance, repair, demolishing whatever it is – all these aspects.  Use safety as an enabler. 

“Anyone should be able to work in a job and say ‘stop’. It is then what you do about it that matters.” 

Warning of the financial cost of production halting, or worse, enforcement, prosecution and penalties that can follow, he said: “I have only stopped two or three jobs in 20-odd years. Use it to make you better, more efficient, more streamlined, so it saves you time and money.”

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