Directors under fire

It is not easy being a director. I should know, I’ve been one. I still am one in actual fact. The level of responsibility and pressure to succeed are immense. Emerging technologies expand and grow at an exponential rate, effecting the field of business in ways we find difficult to imagine. The opportunities and threats have to be met head on and dealt with before there is a negative impact on the business. Health and safety is just one aspect of business which is hard to keep track of and harness in as useful a way as is possible. It doesn’t help when the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) turn their attention more and more to business directors if something has gone wrong in the workplace. In the most recent year end to April 2016 for figures being made available, director convictions leaped to 45 in comparison to 15 during the year before. The new sentencing guidelines imposed onto the criminal courts have pushed the value of fines for many companies into the millions (a ten fold increase for some business types). One utility company has set aside £26 million just to deal with the problem.

Taking no action and hoping for the best is not a wise option. However there are a few things that directors could instigate. By being proactive, they could start to demonstrate that their health and safety culture is an improving one. (Note, the HSE use under section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974 to gain a prosecution of an individual director if in their estimation, the company had a negative health and safety culture)

Action one: Attend the Train to Safety one day course – Directing Safety on 28th February specifically to help directors decide what they need to do and at what level to become involved. This course has been widely accepted as greatly beneficial to directors who have been on the course.

Action two. As well as the Directing course (but not instead of), directors could ensure they have access to adequate health and safety assistance. Many come to me and request my services for this however, it is far better for them to install these levels of competence working inside their organisation. Recruitment is one method but qualifying their staff to the NEBOSH General certificate will pay for itself by the end of the year.

The next NEBOSH course starts soon on the 7th March. contact: hello@traintosafety.co.uk

Don’t miss out. The business risks are just to great.

David Smith explaining how Asda became the top as a business performer.

No more NEBOSH sting

Ever taken a sting from a training company who offer you the world, take your money and then abandon you? Apparently this is quite common for many people looking for a NEBOSH qualification with one of the many of the cattle market training companies. Hopeful wannabe health and safety managers become sucked in and cleaned out. It’s at that  point they phone Train to Safety for help. We seem to be offering more and more support for those in despair. People who have suffered disenchantment and disillusioned at the mediocre trainers delivering courses full of thousands of powerpoints.  I was offered one off-the-shelf NEBOSH powerpoint presentation to buy and use that included over 1,600 individual powerpoint frames. These organisations have completely lost the plot and do not have the imagination to find a way out.

So welcome to any humiliated individuals who may be looking to recover their position. Our next course starts on 8th March in Chesterfield. Please come and join us. We cant guarantee success but we will guarantee that we will put more effort into providing the vital support that this course requires.

See the classic con which you wont experience with us.

Made a difference?

“So, do you really think you have made a difference?” came the question from a fresh and sceptical mind on my latest IOSH Managing Safely course. The enthusiasm had been building up in me and had by then come to the boil, bubbling over and spilling good practice theory all around.

“Well of course I feel that” I replied. Its difficult to be able to quantify things but as I look back over the last twelve years I have been completing safety training, I can make a quite clear distinction between then and now. Firstly and most obviously, the national accident and ill health rates (for most but not all things) have reduced. I cant claim that any of this is directly attributable to me, or to health and safety trainers as a whole. Some of this may have been down to the general massaging of peoples minds by the gentle subtle shift in society as a whole.  Such as successful campaigns to reduce car accidents, drink and driving and high profile accidents hitting the headlines (i.e. the Alton Towers theme park ride catastrophe). However, I have noticed that shop floor workers who come to me for basic health and safety training are far more aware about safety as a starting point. All health and safety courses have had to raise their bar slightly as a result.

I can definitely point to two situations at least where, as a natural cynic, I have welled up in pride at the most noticeable results. One company was a fabricator of machine tools near Sheffield. A few years ago and due to their desperation I handed them a very basic off the shelf Health and Safety Management System as they had virtually nothing in place. I spent a bit of time going through how to implement it and their factory manager came on an IOSH course. I then left thinking that they would struggle to implement things as I had suggested due to the usual pressures of time and diminishing motivation. Earlier this year I bumped into the factory manager. He told me that the HSE had just conducted a random visit on them. I was full of dread and was visibly cringing. “Oh no”, the guy said. “The HSE were very complementary and went away very happy”. My heart jumped for joy. Well done to them.

Then last week I completed a one day IOSH refresher training course at a supply products manufacturer  in mid Derbyshire. Three years previously these same staff had come into the training room feeling pushed, cynical and rather exposed. Their company had grown from a small tin shed making widgets, expanding to  a lush, new, modern, purpose built factory. It coincided with a change of management who were keen to progress and modernise to modern day working practice as quickly as possible. But on the day, when the staff came in, they were confident, smiling and very proud of the achievements of their company together with their own personal progress within the company. Everyone was happy about management systems, risk assessment, monitoring etc. It was a great feeling for me to witness this and recognised once more my own small part in their achievements. Well done to them.

Compare and contrast this to a machining company I was at last week. One of their guys told me he thought it was acceptable, almost a badge of honour if you were to lose, say, a finger in a machining operation. He resented safe working practice and implied we had all gone soft. This guy and millions like him across industry want to return to the good old days. They are suspicious of management with vision, are resistant to new technology and new ideas and then wonder why their companies are dying out. These people have developed radical social ideas but unfortunately and ultimately it will not save them as progress sweeps them away. I remember the good old days, I was there. However, I cant recall a single thing at all that was good about them. Aberfan, Flixborough, Piper Alpha, Herald of Free Enterprise, nearly eight hundred people being killed each year. Desperate, desperate ill health in later years even if you did manage to survive. Good riddance.

In summary. I believe that health and safety is part of a progressive movement of which I play a small, almost insignificant part. But that part I feel extremely proud to be part of and I do believe I and many of my colleagues make a real difference.

Check out the “good old days” seen at their ugliest in this documentary.

 

 

 

 

 

EXPO Safety and Health; May 11th; Chesterfield

Excitement indeed for our coming Expo. We have taken the very successful annual Health and safety update course we ran in 2015 and 2016 and taken it to a new level and a new location. Rather than have just one presentation lasting for three hours, we have mini presentations running throughout the day of just 20 minutes in length each.

Invited presenters, many of which have already agreed, have a special, innovating or exciting application. Such companies include how to overcome the problems from exposure to dust, solvents and electro-magnetic fields. One company specialises in providing ergonomic seating problems for the workplace ( we are not just talking about the usual office chairs here). One company has a novel solution to protect from moving vehicles like fork lift trucks. A  supplier of personal protective equipment has been approached. Occupational health monitoring, novel ways to work at height without actually working at height. For those who must work at height, a specialised working at height company and a specialised hearing protection company are also part of a wide range of exhibitors and speakers attending. In fact we will be graced with representation from evidently the most successful NEBOSH training company, based on results. We also have some small presentations made by one or two local companies on how they overcame certain serious issues back in their workplace.

We have taken on the Ringwood Hall Hotel, just outside Chesterfield for the location, with its wonderful atmosphere and surroundings to stage the event on Thursday May 11th.

The day will be split up into pre-lunch and after lunch. Individuals wanting to attend can choose to come for either one or preferably both. (You don’t receive lunch if you opt for the afternoon session.)

Hopefully, anyone wanting to pursue their continuous personal development should be looking to attend, such as holders of an IOSH or NEBOSH qualification. It is well recognised that just sitting on your laurels turns the hard earned skills acquired into rusty useless relics.

Come and join us, drop me a line at hello@traintosafety.co.uk and we will get back to you with more information.

safety-health-expo-north-midlands

 

 

NEBOSH General Certificate outstanding

The NEBOSH Certificate in Health and safety is the default course for would be Health and Safety Managers and others with high levels of responsibility for high hazards such as engineers. There is no doubt that the course is a tough nut to crack. Nationally the pass rate for all the modules taken (including people who have a second bite of the cherry with a re-sit) is 72%. We can only guess that the first time pass rate will be at the lower level of about 65% for all modules. From our last course, the results for first time takers , just released, is a whopping 95%.

This result, for the NEBOSH General Certificate is outstanding.

We must be good as we are the only company who openly publish our pass rates and allow the results to be scrutinised. That says it all.  Consistently high results are returned which group us into one of the highest performing Safety Training companies in the UK. How can this be?

People not trivia.

During the last four weeks we have received three applications from experienced health and safety trainers wanting to join us. Their CV’s were bristling with health and safety qualifications, however, they were all seriously deficient in one respect…… They all lacked a decent training qualification (No, I do not mean a PTTLS certificate!). One of the applicants I responded to about this, informing him it didn’t meet our standards was perplexed and reinforcing their strengths in health and safety qualifications, the point being I suspect completely lost on him. An old Joe Strummer folk song came to mind; What’s the use of wings if you can’t fly!

They say that business is about people. Governing is about people. Selling is about people. Managing is about people. If that’s the case then I suspect that training is also mainly, just about people.

We use tried and tested, heavily experienced tutors. And guess what, they know how to engage, get their point across and have a bit of fun along the way! Their dedication and passion, help to secure the commitment of the students. Yes, it’s a team effort and includes the learners. Just as health and safety in the real world is all about engagement, so it is in the training room.

So well done to the team of learners and tutors alike for this awesome effort.

Speaking of wings to fly, one of the guys on the course uses drones to inspect the results of their maintenance work. I can’t show you their work as its too sensitive but take a look at the type of thing achievable in reductions in cost and levels of risk.

Training: The Brewdog way

We set up Train to Safety five and a half years ago now. It was the middle of the deepest recession we had witnessed for decades. We must have been suicidal. Even in good times, 80 percent of all business fail within the first 18 months. We succeeded though returning 27% growth to the business year on year since our first year. I wasn’t sure how we had managed this until I read the book by James Watt; Business for Punks, the story of how the Brewdog Brewery had become massively successful. After reading the book, I pretty much realised that their story could also have been about us (although we still have some way to go though). We became successful because we didn’t set out to be profit driven, but that we believe passionately about what we are doing is morally right, makes a real difference and adds real value to companies business. In short, we are on a mission at Train to Safety. For example. 48 hours after a Brexit vote we had researched and published a blog of what the impact would be on health and safety legislation, to help organisations cope with the confusion. We believe we were the first in the UK to provide this free information.

When I first started in training they gave me acetates to present with, and then later everyone was blown away by the use of powerpoints. I realised quite quickly that most of these training techniques are at best counterproductive and at worst extremely destructive. I wanted to change all that. Yep, revolution was on my mind and it still is. The care for people is at the core of my values but the need to drive other influential individuals to take on board the safety message is the fuel in my tank. We consider we have failed if people don’t come off my courses having at least enjoyed themselves or better still have received that wow factor so that they can’t wait to get back to their own workplace to start making a difference. You can’t achieve this by being a presenter of powerpoints (alone).

This process is no more apparent than in our NEBOSH National certificate course which we run with our partners TUV Nord. We have one of the highest pass rates in the country for this difficult qualification, aimed primarily at safety managers in the making. Many companies hold back on this qualification and don’t take the risk with their staff. It is quite an investment, not just in cash outlay terms but in the valuable resource of time when no one can truthfully guarantee a first time success. Most people come away from the course though feeling happy, inspired, confident competent and having made new friends. For their organisation the return in value terms is about 10 times their investment. The reason is, that the NEBOSH course is a management qualification. It’s all about thinking how people make mistakes, how to control people to help prevent mistakes. How to be systematic in the way health and safety is implemented and how to improve the organisation of a company. The enrichment benefits for the company are huge and ongoing.

We do everything possible to engage people during this particular course to try and maximise the effect. We achieve this by using exercises developed over the years which both work and are enjoyed by our students. We even go out onto different sites if possible to see the overall context of what we are training.

In times when companies may be thinking of holding back on their training budget, I would like to remind them that the most successful companies, even in times of hardship, are those that actually invest in the whole range of business support systems. We can provide plenty of examples of this. Make the difference in your company, enrol onto our September NEBOSH course now.  More information.

See how much fun Brewdog have.

« Previous Entries