At BGEN, no two roles are the same, so we are talking to colleagues across the organisation and asking them five questions to get insight and understanding of their journey here and how they fit into the company.
Dave started as a Health and Safety advisor at BGEN last June and has just been accredited with IOSH (Institute of safety and health) Chartership status, having worked his way up the various grades from the institute. In his spare time, he enjoys running various distances up to and including Ultra Marathon events and is a United Kingdom Athletics running leader .
Can you tell us a little about your background and the path that has led you here?
In 2006, it was clear to me that a career change was needed on a personal and professional level, so I put myself through night school for nine months to achieve NEBOSH Construction Certificate and became a technical member of IOSH.
Of course, with these things, it can be hard to get work in a field you have no experience in, so I was fortunate enough to find myself employment within the contracting world. While I hadn’t planned for this it was actually a great opportunity as I wasn’t stuck in just one place and so I got a breadth of experience within quite a short space of time. I worked in all sorts of market sectors including new builds, power stations, energy from waste, steel works and nuclear projects!
Four years into a position with a contractor, Covid 19 hit and I found myself redundant as part of the streamlining process. As I know that this was happening to a lot of my peers, the situation had seemed quite bleak but just weeks later, I was offered a position with BGEN on one of their electrical and mechanical projects.
I built up a great relationship with my manager and colleagues at the site and was supported through further development and being used in all areas, and in June 2021 I was offered a full-time position here at BGEN.
In November 2021, I received my chartered status from ISOH. To achieve chartership, I had to be at a certain level academically (NVQ Level 5) and have evidence of two years continuous professional development, sit two exams, undertake a CPD audit, and peer review! It was a huge challenge, but I couldn’t be more grateful at how things have turned out.
What does your average day look like?
Currently, I am assisting the site team in preparing for a new major project, heavy-set with trying to organise and assist where I can there.
Any two days are different, from site audits and inspections to any near misses or incidents that need to be investigated and closed out. Each day, I’m liaising with the client and being their point of contact for safety queries and concerns.
In my department, we strive for the same thing, making sure everyone goes home safely. We are continuously developing, making changes, and learning from past events.
Different companies approach things in different manners, and in the past, I have been there to fulfil a role for that particular project. With BGEN, however, being full time, from project to project I see how health and safety are paramount throughout the organisation and part of a wider strategy.
Has anything taken you by surprise?
The industry I’m in, you try and be prepared for the unexpected. But every day you will learn something new about how you can develop things for a satisfactory outcome for you and your team.
People might be surprised to see the consistency you need – it’s a mindset. The hazards and risks are still there regardless of what size of project you’re working on, so you do see things differently in that you’re not looking to prioritise on profits and margins; every project must have the same attention to detail.
What do you see as your biggest challenge?
Influencing project teams can be a challenge at times. You must have your standards and maintain that consistent standard. In many ways you are opening yourself up for possible criticism for delays or other inconveniences so it’s important to be able to communicate your standards without coming across as difficult. You have two things that need to happen at the same time, which is maintaining good relationships and being flexible, and on the other hand maintaining your own standards and level of consistency, so it’s treading the line between the two which can be a challenge.
What advice would you give to someone setting out in a career in Health and Safety?
I would say develop and maintain your standards, be consistent and be approachable. You can then develop yourself daily from there. Every day is a day for learning. The subject matter is so vast that I don’t think people can call themselves an expert. Yes, after a while you can look back on your previous experience, but there will always be changes and new things to learn for the first time.