How having a mentor made my first Award entry easier

Following their successful involvement in the LOcHER Project over the last three years, Preston’s College has decided to take the plunge and enter into the RoSPA Health and Safety Awards. In this short post, their Estates, Health & Safety Manager, David Foy, describes the experience…

“Following a discussion with Karen McDonnell (Head of Occupational Safety, RoSPA) I was put in touch with John Johnston (TechnipFMC and Health & Safety for Beginners – Twitter@HSFB) to see if he could mentor me through the RoSPA Awards process.

After only one phone call, ideas swirled around my head. This first conversation was meant to be a chat about what I need to collect and what I can use. The outcome of the chat was so much more and have given me so much food for thought!

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Notes from a phone call with John Johnston

Yes, policy documents, risk assessments and reports are important, but John presented me with the idea of telling a story for each Industry Sector Award Key Performance Question. This should include a starting point and a process, as any actions and the outcomes really brings the application to life. Policies and procedures are written for an ideal world, the practical delivery can sometimes be slightly different.

When you work in safety, your day-to-day activities just happen and it is only when you take a step back and review what you and your teams have achieved, delivered and dealt with does the ‘wow’ moment occur. And it’s these moments that make the role of a health and safety manager special.

This week for example, we had a small fire in an office. On one-hand this could be seen as a system failure, but the review of the actual incident review proved quite the opposite.

1.       The fire alarm worked

2.       The call back from the alarm receiving company worked

3.       The response from our team worked

4.       The area was evacuated as planned

5.       The fire was extinguished before it caused too much damage

6.       The area was returned to use within 12 hours.

In fact it was a great learning experience for all involved.

My mentor, John Johnston continues to support me in the Awards process and is always at the end of a phone or email, to answer and support me.

Our first conversation left my head spinning with ideas and potential evidence to include in my application pack. Since then, I’d started to put together a list of possible evidence sources, some of the which were easy – HR for coverage of our Staff Wellbeing Week, The Campus Cohesion Officer, Jen, for details of the Student Wellbeing Week, etc., when suddenly I thought “what would others suggest that I add into the pack?”

Inspired, I gathered a team together, split them into groups, and gave them each three of the questions from the awards submission for them to review. Their replies were amazing, and showed me that they were definitely thinking along the right lines and confirmed that I was too.

nebosh group responses
Example of team brainstorm

Onwards and upwards over the next couple of weeks as we collate the evidence and then put our final application together.”

If you are interested in following in Preston’s College’s footsteps, why not start your own exciting RoSPA Health & Safety Awards journey and benefit from the Awards Mentoring Scheme by contacting the Awards Team.

David Foy is a Chartered Member of IOSH and a Fellow of the IIRSM with over 20 years’ experience in Health & Safety.  He is the Estates, Health & Safety Manager at Preston’s College and also chairs the North West Colleges Safety Managers network group.

He is a strong advocate of interacting with and supporting colleagues across the country via social media and networking groups.

David describes himself as an individual who is committed to simple practical safety solutions, using his experiences to understand how tasks are required to work and identifying methods that can be used to minimise any associated risks.

David has been involved in the LOcHER project since 2015 and is keen to see the project develop further to achieve its objectives of reducing instances of work related ill-health in the future.  

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