A new day, a new experience

24 May

Having become a qualified journalist five years ago, I always envisaged myself working for a magazine such as Heat or Vogue. I certainly never envisaged working on a health and safety magazine, but here I am five years later having been working for the British Safety Council for four years.

I definitely don’t claim to be a safety professional but I have learnt a hell of a lot about health and safety since being here and I even find myself thinking about everyday things from a health and safety perspective.

Walking past a construction site I now have a look to check the builders are working safely and they’re wearing the necessary PPE. My friends think I’m bonkers but it has become second nature to me.

And for the first time, I got to visit a construction site for myself this week as part of an article I’m writing. On arrival at the construction site in Vauxhall, I was taken through a safety induction before being kitted out with a hard hat, safety boots, gloves and safety glasses.

This was a new experience for me. I’m not really a ‘hat person’ as you can see from the photo, but it was good to see the company looking out for my safety. I was told no one was allowed on to site without the required equipment and I duly obliged realising these rules were obviously there for a reason. As we entered the site I was a little apprehensive as I had no idea what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised.

I noticed how everyone was getting on with their job in a calm but efficient way…maybe it was because the site manager was around…but there was a good atmosphere and the positive safety culture on site was apparent.

What struck me the most was how tidy the site was. I had imagined tools and bits of timber lying around everywhere and having to watch my step, but it was virtually spotless. Obviously I was still careful to mind where I walked – sticking to the pedestrian walkways and holding the handrail as I walked up the steps.

But man these safety boots are hard to walk in! When I took them off and put my own shoes back on, the site manager I was with told me I’d get used to them if I wore them every day. I think I’ll take his word for it and stick to my little slip-on pumps.

I really enjoyed my visit and can check that off my list of interesting places to visit. I’ve been quite fortunate to be able to travel around the UK visiting our members; it is the favourite part of my job. I’ve been to various places to interview clients including a distribution warehouse, a manufacturing plant, a prison and now a construction site, and I find it really interesting learning about the health and safety of different industries.

If someone had told me five years ago I’d be on a construction site as part of an article I was writing, I’d have laughed and told them I had no interest in doing so, but I now look forward to my next assignment whether that be a laboratory, an offshore oil rig  or maybe a farm. Hopefully it will be somewhere I don’t have to wear a hat!

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