• Peter Bateman
    167
    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
    2
    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
    167
    Nice tribute, and thanks for being first to have a crack at this!
  • Janet Mary Houston
    20
    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
    167
    Inspiring people, and great to see you now paying it forward!
  • Sheri Greenwell
    190
    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
    35
    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
    33
    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
    13
    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
    11
    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
    36
    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
    30
    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
    24
    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.
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