‘Centuries’ of combined experience gather to support Safety4Good
6th May 2019
Over 40 people joined a supporter event in London on 30 April 2019 observing World Day for Safety and Health in the Workplace two days earlier and galvanising more support for Safety4Good from OSH leaders and senior managers.
The combined experience in the room represented not decades but centuries of expertise.
The Safety4Good initiative began as an idea from specialist safety and health recruitment agency boss Simon Bliss who used his network of top risk, safety, health, environment and security leaders to enlist support. The response was immediate and enthusiastic.
"Safety and health professionals are all about helping others," said Bliss. "Their entire ethos is about saving lives and making work and workplaces healthier and more fulfilling. They're also generous with their time and their advice, so this idea really seemed to strike a chord."
Ruth Denyer, group director at ITV and one of the first people Bliss approached, coined its name, Safety4Good. She hosted the event at ITV headquarters in London and is a board member.
"For me, it's all about enabling not-for-profits and charities to get access to high-quality, free help and advice that will enable them to achieve their goals. Often health and safety is seen to be a barrier to things happening. In reality, this is rarely the case and with good advice and direction the health and safety community can dispel that belief," she said.
"When I donate my time to a charity I want it to be as valuable as possible to them, so I wanted to see if there is a way, as a group, we could donate professional time really effectively to small organisations in this sector."
Another board member of Safety4Good, Tim Eldridge, global head of health and safety at HSBC and an IOSH vice-president, said: "The safety community is very good at sharing knowledge and solutions with one another. There's no such thing as a new problem, so OSH professionals are happy to help others out."
Safety4Good's three main drivers are:
1. Donating time to great causes -- either at work or selflessly in your own time
2. Mentoring new and young entrants in the profession to maximise their potential and contribution and progress their careers
3. Raising money for our portfolio of charities through donation and events.
More than 650 people have signed up as supporters since Safety4Good began; 224 days have been donated through pledging time or a day's pay; dozens of people have expressed interest in being mentors or mentees; and over £40,000 has been raised by safety and health professionals for 11 charities, including Great Ormand Street Hospital, MIND, the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, and Chase Children's Hospice.
Other board members outlined their motivations for getting behind Safety4Good. James Pomeroy, group health, safety, environment and security director of Lloyds Register, sees an opportunity to encourage and develop a more diverse pool of talent:
"Our profession needs to respond to demographic changes and encourage greater inclusion. I hope the mentoring element of safety4good will support a more diverse safety profession."
Karl Simons, chief health, safety & security officer at Thames Water, was driven to support Safety4Good after experiencing the benefits of volunteering his health-and-safety knowledge and experience in his own local community.
"The voluntary work people do across the country is what's great about Britain, and the people I work with in safety and health are stand-out examples of this," he said. "Through Safety4Good we can show the world this is a profession doing a lot of good in society as well as in business.
"We're an enabler to get things done. By looking after people's safety and their physical and mental health and wellbeing at work, we're keeping people in employment and contributing massively to the British economy. These are positive stories that deserve to be told."
Through the work Simons leads in mental health and wellbeing at work, he was able to invite a special guest for the event -- Lord Dennis Stevenson who, with MIND chief executive Paul Farmer, produced Thriving at Work, an independent review for the UK government of mental health and employers.
During his talk, Lord Stevenson advocated that every business large or small should put in place a mental health strategy.
Richard Orton, IOSH's director of strategy and business development, gave the backing of the world's largest and its only chartered professional body for occupational safety and health.
"IOSH is proud to support this fantastic initiative to raise awareness of the countless positive contributions made by OSH professionals to all areas of society.
"The groundswell of enthusiasm for this demonstrates not only the skills and knowledge that drive many safety and health leaders but also their commitment and dedication above and beyond their day jobs. It provides a great new positive platform for all the fine work our members do."
Bliss said: "Safety4Good has truly taken off. Last night was a huge success made so by the energy in the room and the contribution of all attendees. It is truly inspirational to work alongside an industry where the professionals share so much knowledge and collaboration with each other selflessly, to make the world a safer place."
IOSH continues to gather, on behalf of Safety4Good, stories from its members, via Connect and social media, of the varied ways in which they volunteer their expertise to help others. The first of these great case studies will appear on the Safety4Good website soon with more to follow.
Anyone who would like to let us know what they have done or are doing to donate their time and expertise to great causes can do so via its web form.