A Greater Focus on Health & Safety
23 February 2017 by CSG
CSG recently welcomed Kevin Mooney to our ranks, in the role of Health & Safety Manager. It’s an appointment that highlights the paramount importance of the health and safety of our staff, our trading partners and everyone else with whom we come into contact.
Kevin joins us from Pentalver Transport, part of the Maersk empire and has 26 years’ experience to bring to bear, including 14 years as Manager. In a role where everything has to be done right, all the time, across a wide variety of sites and jobs, how does he begin to shoulder such a responsibility?
“I have a competence in safety management that comes from real-life experience, which gives me the confidence to make the decisions I need to make to do my job. During my years of practical work, including driving trucks, I saw many incidents and learned from them, this has made me more hazard aware.”
“The variety of the role isn’t a problem because my job isn’t necessarily about knowing every situation but knowing where to find out everything I need to know. That means a lot of research and planning.”
It’s not difficult in any organisation to find people who’ll bemoan ‘Health & Safety’ for restricting mundane activities like lifting a box of paper or carrying too many cups of tea but that’s because its also easy to overlook why the need to ensure worker safety exists – and that means looking at a time when the concept was almost unheard of.
In the eight years between 1882 and 1890, when the Forth Bridge was being built, at least 57 people died and an undocumented number were left with disabilities. In a world without any formal Health & Safety obligations, the construction companies who build the 360-foot tall structure had one rule to prevent accidents in such a hazardous environment: any man seen with his hands in his pockets would be fired immediately. There were no harnesses, no safety nets and, aside from the provision of waterproof clothes and boots, the only other concession to safety was a small fleet of rowing boats beneath the bridge – who saved eight fallen workers from drowning. In all, there were over 26,000 entries in the log book of accidents and sicknesses.
Such frightening statistics show how far we’ve come as a society and remind us that the occasional frustration today is merely a sign that today’s employers simply can’t tolerate anything that threatens the welfare of anyone, be they employees, contractors or anyone else towards whom companies have a duty of care.
“As a person, I’m not risk-averse” Kevin adds, which may be surprising to anyone unwilling to look beyond the stereotype. “I’ve raced motorcycles and broken many bones while doing it. These days, I spend most of my weekends restoring my MG BGT, so I’m practical and I know how to get my hands dirty. Doing my job, you’re always well aware that it’s not enough to simply write the rules; I also need to ensure I maintain a culture of acceptance. If everyone buys in to a safety culture, that alone makes everything safer.”
At CSG, we’ve always taken our responsibilities seriously. With such a variety of hazardous environments to manage, and with ever-tighter regulations, it became necessary to further strengthen our already capable function. Aside from Kevin’s role, we’ve also added two new compliance officers and we’re working towards gaining Occupational Health & Safety Management 18001 status across all of our sites.