• Peter Bateman
    Thinking back, many of us can pinpoint one or two people who have helped steer us onto a better path in health, safety & wellbeing.

    They might have enlightened us with new knowledge, or inspired us to take a different approach, or encouraged us to get into H&S in the first place.

    I invite Forum members to think who that person was for you, and to acknowledge them here. Name the person and in one paragraph explain how they have influenced you.

    I’ll kick off with a bit of a cheat (because I’m a journalist, not a H&S practitioner).

    The late Tony Reid, who died in February, was my journalism teacher at AIT (as it was – now AUT). He taught us the basics of news reporting, feature writing and profiles. He also showed us – from his time at The Listener – how print media could set the agenda. He is acknowledged as the finest feature and profile writer of his or any other generation. It was a privilege to have him as a mentor and friend.
  • Phil Anderson
    The person who influenced me was my Operations Manager Paul Connolly back in 1996. Paul had recently arrived from South Africa and took on the Operations Manager role for an International Plastic company, his focus was always on safety, he explained to me how important Health & Safety was in South Africa and how NZ was lagging in that space. I was just starting out as a Safety Rep and Paul asked me if I was interested in looking after Health & Safety of the Site, I jumped at the chance and Paul then sent me off to numerous Health & Safety Training programmes and the experience changed my whole outlook on life and safety. Sadly Paul passed in 2015 but he will forever be the person I will always thank for his guidance, support and influence. A true leader.
  • Peter Bateman
    Nice tribute, and thanks for being first to have a crack at this!
  • Janet Mary Houston
    Robyn Vallom at EnviroWaste was my first major influence on a career path towards being a Health and Safety professional. She saw my raw passion for the safety of our employees and always encouraged me to upskill, starting at HSR training through all 4 stages and onto Occ H&S Certificate. She has been the driving force at EnviroWaste for many years as H&S Manager - in a male dominant environment, she always stands her ground and thinks of workers safety and wellbeing first and foremost.
    My second, another woman, who has been my mentor for many years and has been a guiding light throughout my career is Fiona Carney - my H&S Manager while at George Weston Foods. She encouraged my progression to achieve Diploma in Occ Health and as part of the safety team, you always felt she had your back and she did many times for a lot of the team. These two women I can not thank enough for putting me on this career path and assisting me throughout - they have been and remain my heroines and represent what I aspire to be. In fact, it is because of them that I joined the NZISM mentoring programme and am now playing it forward for 2 fledging H&S students.
  • Peter Bateman
    Inspiring people, and great to see you now paying it forward!
  • Sheri Greenwell
    The first company I worked with was Dow Corning Corporation in Midland, Michigan, USA. The company got its impressive management systems and safety culture from Dow Chemical Company, which had partnered with Corning Glass to create Dow Corning Corporation.

    Dow Corning (DCC) had really integrated a lot of great safety practices into all its business. Safety was EVERYONE's business. Each department held its own monthly safety meeting, which included a requirement for inspection of the department's areas (ours was made up of laboratories and offices) as well as running a meeting with a training topic included. Responsibilities for the inspection and meeting were carried out by two people at a time, and were rostered so that every single person, even every manager, took a turn at both inspection and running a meeting. We were all responsible for the safety of our workplace.

    I happened to have a particularly good manager in that department, too. He had amazing leadership skills and was able to inspire and motivate each person to bring their best to their work. He was an amazing coach who knew how to give feedback that would leave you feeling positive even if he was correcting a mistake.

    Together, this manager and a strong safety culture, along with FDA compliance requirements (think management systems disciplines) associated with this first job gave an amazing foundation for holistic safety and risk management disciplines.

    Fast forward now to the current H&S Team I am working with at T&G. Head of Health and Safety Leanne Wardle is very knowledgeable, highly experienced in safety management, very pragmatic and business-savvy, and she provides a credible presence for safety matters at the executive Risk and Governance Committee. I am particularly inspired by a comprehensive H&S strategic plan that is coherent, practical, aligned with organisational vision and strategy, and particularly for me, is underpinned by values that align with my own and are consistently displayed behaviourally by Leanne and T&G Fresh H&S Manager Brenton Harrison, with whom I am working quite closely at the moment. The entire H&S Team are driven by shared values and clarity of purpose, particularly the desire to keep people safe. The strategy and strategic plan are particularly ambitious and fast-paced, but rather than feeling pressured or stressed, I feel inspired and drawn into their vision of developing people and skills to be able to keep themselves safe - we are providing tools, support and guidance to take our people on a journey.
  • Dianne Campton
    I had a great mentor when working with ABB back in the day. Russell Kilpatrick was the Quality Manager and helped me as I started on the health and safety pathway. He was a good listener and asked probing questions to help guide my decision making rather than giving me the answers. He was an excellent sounding board for me to bounce improvement ideas off. One key phrase he used has always stayed with me, "you have enough rope to make mistakes but not enough to hang yourself". "Talk to me if you are not getting the results you want or are having problems otherwise feel free to experiment - just keep me in the loop". We would have weekly catch ups to talk about what was working and what wasn't. By working with Russell as I studied for my GradDipOSH, I was also exposed to Quality and Environmental processes. Even back in the late 1990's early 2000's Russell had a visionary approach integrating all three disciplines to ensure robust management of operational risks was maintained. He emphasized selling the story not telling people how to do things.
    Interestingly this approach is as valid to day as it was back then.
    I now have a business mentor, Mel Roswell who is helping me continually fine tune the story tellling and understanding what managers are asking which, in turn, helps me understand what they actually need and I can deliver messages they understand and can take on board.
  • Trudy Downes
    some old painter - got grumpy when I yelled at him after I put out his drop sheet fire from his cigarette butt 1988
    Geoff - forearm broken in 3 places after getting wrapped in a 'stuck' security grill gate 1991
    Warren - mesothelioma, 2000
    Frank - caught in crane guide ropes, 2004
    Alan - mesothelioma, 2019

    not all of us were lucky enough to have mentors.
  • Robert Powell
    In the late 90s I was designated Unit Safety and Health Coordinator (USHC) at the technical training school at RNZAF Base Woodbourne. Beverly Taylor was the Base Safety & Health Advisor who corralled us all and got us motivated, and her guidance was instrumental in setting my path in the field of H&S. A decade and a bit later, I was in charge of the BSHAs and had a gradDip OSH under my belt. Beverly is a wonderful person, and I thank her for mentoring me way back then.
  • Robb
    My dad - in 1986 he gave me (for my 14th bday) a single storey ex housing nz house, a crow bar, a chainsaw, some wise words and 48 hours to demolish the house so I could fundraise for a sporting tournament in Australia. Those words were "If it will fall on you dont cut it, if you will fall dont stand on it and most importantly, don't hurt yourself or else you will have to answer to your mother". Simple and effective.
  • Chris Peace
    in June 1975 I caught a train from Rugby to London and found I was sitting with Jeremy Stranks for an hour. I had graduated in 1974 and done a diploma in air pollution control. As an EHO I was enforcing the UK HSWA 1974. Jerry told me that H&S was going to be an important area of work and persuaded me to do the then Coventry Technical College Diploma in H&S.
    Two years, 36 weeks each year, two nights a week, three hours each evening.
    No regrets.
    Jerry is still going but his book is a bit old school.
  • Glenn Taylor
    Allan St John Holt who authored the book Principles of Health & Safety at Work (in the UK) which was a must for NEBOSH students back in the day, I still, believe it or not, still use this on occasion.. Also Paul H O'Neill, former boss of Alcoa in the US and The Power of Habit book by Charles Duhigg (google him) both Allan and Paul sadly now passed on. They simplified things to a point that keeping things simple and relevant is often the best and the war and peace volumes may actually be masking something. Both had a profound effect early in my career.
  • Mark Kenny-Beveridge
    Great topic @Peter Bateman. I was fortunate to have two guys who have influenced me.
    Ken Clarke is a guy who had a chat to me and answered all my questions about entering the field of H&S. He then continued to mentor me, encourage me and have words of wisdom when I was having a down day while I studied and started in new roles. To this day, he still does check in. Great all round bloke with a passion for H&S that is infectious supported by his depth of knowledge.

    Bruce McAlpine was my first H&S Manager who continued to support me in study also, and when I had questions about why we do this or that, he would generally say, have a look and see if you can find a better way. Generally I would come to conclusion and understanding why the current way was being done. He encouraged me to not always accept the status quo as the right way for now, but to continually review what we do and how we do to seek continuous improvements.

    Two top blokes.
  • Tania Curtin
    I moved into a H&S role through business necessity. I love learning and I saw it as an opportunity to learn about another business function, but to be honest, I was not expecting to find it particularly challenging or interesting.

    I went along to my first ever H&S course, Essential Skills for H&S Representatives, facilitated by Helen Mason. I remember I was dreading doing two full days of H&S training; I was half expecting to fall asleep.

    But at the end of the first day, I remember coming home and announcing to my husband that I had found what I was meant to do! Helen made it about so much more than paperwork and legislation. I realised that H&S was actually all about people, and this career path presented an opportunity to make a real and positive difference for others. My passion just grew and grew from there.

    The next big moment of inspiration came when I stumbled across the 'Safety Differently Movie' on YouTube. Sidney Dekker's work, and the Safety Differently principles sparked a lot of thought for me, and reignited my passion for H&S, and led to some pretty confronting reflections on my principles and practices!

    Shortly after discovering the movie, I went to a Safety Differently Masterclass facilitated by Daniel Hummerdal which was quite a revelation. Daniel was extremely inspiring and shined a different light on work and the role of the H&S professional. That course was a significant turning point for me.
  • Brendon Ward
    I was in an interview scenario today where different interested parties came in and out of the interview asking me questions - "Why health and safety?" The kinds of things that came to mind for me were:
    1. While many fall into health and safety (e.g. "...through business necessity"), HS is something I stepped into.
    2. Throughout my career HS has been a thread weaving its way through various responsibilities, projects etc, coming together to form a larger fabric.
    3. It is borne out of a compassionate appreciation for people, a genuine interest in people.
    4. I have quite an analytical mind and so the system aspects of HS really appeal to me.

    My introduction to HS as a discipline came through rep training back in 2007. I have then progressed through the various stages of HSR training, completed a lot of other HS training especially the more practical aspects (managing high risk work - e.g. work at height) as well as things like ICAM, ISO45001, and other more system focused training.

    Through it, I wouldn't say I have been influenced by particular individuals, theorists, or theories but have developed an interest in some of the causation analysis side of significant events around the world e.g. Chernoybl, Bhopal, Pike River, global issues regarding asbestos etc.
  • Janene Magson
    I started my HS career in 2011, not entirely by choice but I needed to do something else in my life at that moment. I took over from a person who knew absolutely nothing about HS so I enrolled at SIT for the Occ HS Diploma. I found NZISM which was a saviour. I moved onto another HS role a few years later and had the privilege of working with @Mike Cosman, that was one of the highlights in my HS career and I still follow him diligently. Another person who has always been my "go to" is Phil Lewis-Farrell, always encouraging me and there whenever I need advice, also met Phil through NZISM. The latest person in my HS career that made a huge impact on my HS thinking is Jo(Joanne) van den Berg, she was my manager at The Dept of Corrections and has now moved onto Frucor Suntory, a great manager and even greater person
  • Amanda
    It was a horticultural company that I was working for. As part of the induction the person showed me the "Memorial wall" in the staff room of all the workers who had died of cancer. The majority type of cancer they all died of was lung cancer. When I asked what precautions have been put into place now to ensure this wall does not grow, the person asked what I meant. They had no clue that the use of chemicals and soils within the business, would have contributed to their illnesses and deaths. They were quite shocked when I made the connection. This person was a long serving senior manager of the business.
  • Tim Beach
    For me I had started working at Goodman Fielder (Quality Bakers) in a part time sales support role while doing a business degree. Out of the blue I received a call from the site manager asking me if I was interested in helping them with a Safety Programme - Food Safety though. That went well and then H&S was next up and after completing a H&S Certificate, which I had asked for to ensure I has some knowledge. Then trying to work out what I needed to do the Goodman Fielder H&S Manager @Terry Johnson showed up at our site in late 1998. I still remember sitting down with me as he inspired me, first by explaining the new Safety the GF Way programme that was about to be launched. Then verbally relaying a lock out procedure that was a needed addition to the Procedural Manual I was in the process of putting together, oh to have that knowledge. I was hooked and then further work with Terry on the Safety the GF Way at my site and went on to help train people at other GF site. So Terry is still around, leading Safety at The Warehouse now.
  • G Gillard
    I was lucky enough to complete my post-grad study and then 8 years later end up working alongside the late David Querido (RIP). David was an absolute professional who understood business as a whole entity and the part that safety played within. Above all else David demonstrated great leadership, morals and ethics that were inspiring to anyone who was lucky enough to work with him. David was a big believer in understanding what motivates and/or demotivates people in order to develop successful businesses and the strength in connecting with people on a deeper level. this is something I will always utilise in my work. RIP my friend.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    I was also working with a Goodman Fielder company when Terry Johnson - along with his manager, based in Australia - rolled out "Safety the Goodman Fielder Way". Terry is a great example of someone with fundamental technical expertise, practical experience, and exceptional communication and leadership skills - very inspiring.
  • Jo Moar
    You were my first inspiration. You were the person at Chorus who saw my potential, believed in my ability and gave me all the opportunity (and funding/training) I could get to complete practical studies. From starting as a green H & S Rep to getting <---thisclose---> to completing my Level 4 Certificate in Occupational H & S before being made redundant was because of you.
    Your commitment to H & S in the telco industry was second to none and It was a pleasure having you as a mentor.

    My second inspiration is John McCammon who I also met during my time at Chorus. Here was a man who exported his family from the UK all because of a job offered in NZ. I was privileged to be able to work one on one with John during his tenure with the company. John is a great down to earth guy with the right motivation to get H & S done. Not one to beat around the bush, or fluff words, he gave me every day practical advice and in fact was instrumental in helping me the role I currently have. His reference to the HR team was glowing (and a little embarrassing tbh).

    Both these two have been the people who have played the biggest and best part in my desire to step outside of my comfort zone and "go for it".
Add a Comment

Welcome to the Safeguard forum!

If you are interested in workplace health & safety in New Zealand, then this is the discussion forum for you.