Q&A with our safety experts for World Health and Safety Day

Q&A with our safety experts for World Health and Safety Day

To mark World Health and Safety Day (Friday 28th April) we have asked Johnsons’ resident Health and Safety experts, Dave and Terry from Sound Safety, some questions around the subject and their work with us.

How long have you worked with Johnsons of Whixley?
We started working with Johnsons in June 2006, so just over 10 years!

What systems have you helped put in place during your time with Johnsons?
Initially we focused on getting senior managers, managers, supervisors and shop floor personnel involved and talking about health and safety, and started to hold regular executive and general committee meetings discussing, planning and actioning health and safety issues on site. We’ve monitored how effective our systems are through regular audits and inspections. This model has been instrumental in achieving all the improvements that have been made over the past ten years at Johnsons.

What’s been the most frequently reported incident you have come across working with different businesses?
That’s a difficult question, as we work with many different companies who operate in different environments. But there is always a human element in reported accidents and incidents. Often someone has failed to do something they should have done, or someone has done something they shouldn’t have done. Incidents involving vehicles contribute to most of the incidents reported here at Johnsons.

How often do you work with Johnsons?
We work with Johnsons one day per week, but we are always on call in the event of an emergency, or if anyone requires support or advice.

What does a day working at Johnsons entail?
In the morning, we review any accidents or incidents from the previous weeks, prepare for committee meetings that we may be attending, and work on any documents around systems and risk assessments - in other words any paperwork that needs doing. Usually in the afternoon we investigate any accidents or incidents, carry out a scheduled workplace inspection at one or two of the sites, and spend time with managers who may have raised a concern.

What do you like most about working with Johnsons?
When trying to develop a robust health and safety culture in any organisation there has to be a genuine commitment and practical involvement at senior management level. Without this commitment, it’s difficult to encourage middle management and supervisors to get on board - we believe Johnsons have those elements in place. Having an open an honest relationship with management is one of the keys to job satisfaction.

How did you both get into the health and safety industry?
For me (Terry), it just seemed a natural progression in my career, coming from an engineering background in a highly regulated chemical industry. I (David) applied for the job as Safety Officer as it meant a promotion and more money than I was getting working as a chemist - hat was 27 years ago when I had a full head of hair!

Have you been involved in any accidents or incidents yourselves in your career?
About 20 years ago I (Terry) was working on a scaffold with a colleague, when one of the scaffold boards snapped in half and I fell about four metres injuring my back. I (David) haven’t suffered any injuries at work but I once nearly electrocuted myself at home trying to fix the washer while it was still plugged in! Fortunately for me the RCD tripped so I was not injured too badly. It’s worth noting that many more injuries are caused by accidents in the home than they are by accidents in the workplace.

Finally, what health and safety advice would you give to people working in the horticulture industry?
Listen and take on board any health and safety advice you’ve been given, adhere to any training or instruction that you have received, challenge anything that may potentially put you or your colleagues at risk, and report anything that has the potential to hurt someone.

Posted 24th Apr 3:23pm