If you are running a business, whether it’s at the early stages or well established, knowing that health and safety needs to be on your agenda can at times feel overwhelming and time consuming. Do you feel that the tasks involved are likely to just generate more red tape, or perhaps you’re not exactly sure what you have to do and will it involve spending money and what are the benefits in doing it? Perhaps you have an employee currently suffering with headaches or back pain or someone who has just returned from long term sick leave?
By taking care of your employees will ultimately reap rewards in terms of commitment, dedication and help you build a high quality reputation.
Here’s my journey….
At the early stages of my career, little did I know that my encounters with health and safety had already started..
I worked in a number of different roles including secretarial, a passenger services agent at Gatwick Airport and also short haul cabin crew. When I look back at this at this time I actually encountered health and safety issues which were overlooked during this period primarily because it wasn’t a fundamental part of a company’s responsibility, a number of health and safety regulations had not even been passed.
I recall sitting uncomfortably for long periods while typing when working in a secretarial role, and as a result I had the beginnings of wrist pain while using a computer and mouse. I took a couple of days off sick, but ultimately this was something I just put up with thinking that I can't complain, I might be perceived as negative, nobody else complains and what can anyone do?
Working as a passenger services agent, came with demands, stress and unsocial hours. I remember moving passengers’ luggage at check-in which I could hardly lift due to the excessive weight (risking back and upper limb injury) but that was just 'part of the job'. I also recall getting verbal abuse at check in when it was impossible to seat passengers together – again perceived as part of the job. No training was in place to support agents with these demands which at that time would also explain the high turnover of staff.
A year or so later, I began my role as cabin crew (my ultimate destination at the time) following extensive safety and cabin service training.
Then my sense of safety really took off when flying!
Not only was there a need to provide passengers with high quality customer care but this had to be done in tandem with ensuring passenger safety: keeping exits and escape routes clear on take off and landing (while managing some customer expectations in wishing to keep them obstructed!) and avoiding serious incidents such as extremely heavy bags stored precariously in overhead lockers. Trying to explain to passengers the importance of safety on board was somewhat challenging at times!
Then there were occasions where inflight incidents occurred including overshooting the runway, flying through storms, being hit by lightening and dealing with passenger illness and emergencies.
After progressing to Assistant Purser, I eventually decided to return to a steady work life balance.
My feet eventually returned to the ground
But my journey didn’t stop then. I started working at Virgin Atlantic with the health and safety team, this time looking at safety from a different perspective, the safety of employees and cabin crew. So the challenges changed, this time assessing the risks to crew while travelling inflight, considering things like cosmic radiation exposure and lifting immobile passengers. Other areas of safety included looking at the crew’s personal security risks when staying overseas. This part of my role ran in tandem with managing the safety and wellbeing of staff based at office and airport locations.
And there began my continual professional development in Health and Safety
As my knowledge and experience continued to grow I knew I wanted to take my career to the next step and expand my horizons into different areas. I took an Advisory position at RSA Insurance Group and continued with my studies.
My time at RSA lasted 12 years and naturally my role evolved significantly during that time. I extended my career by introducing wellbeing in the workplace which really did begin to have a positive effect on employees motivation. My expertise grew in other areas including preparing effective communications, quality learning tools which were both appealing and interactive all with the aim of creating a high quality customer experience and greater employee engagement.
In the meantime, I had two children and in the latter stages of my employment, before redundancy, I started working on gaining and achieving Health and Safety Chartered status.
From these challenges I’m now flying solo!
I continue to utilise my skills and knowledge but I now working independently.
I support small and medium sized businesses and can help you with your health and safety responsibilities which can ultimately sneak up on you at any time and bite hard.
I want to help guide you and put into place the measures that not only enable you to meet your legal requirements but also have a real positive effect on looking after your people and by doing so boosts their morale and motivation.
With my support I can help you achieve a competitive edge and save money by getting your health and safety requirements in order. Whether its to get your business off to a flying start or staying on course to ensure the safety of your employees and clients.
Find out the basics by downloading the free Six Step Safety Plan.