Kevin Myers delivers health and safety Masterclass

08 October 2015

Kevin Myers delivers health and safety Masterclass

Kevin Myers

Students will be the future champions of health and safety in business because it will be ingrained in their DNA.

That was a key message from one of the leading figures in the UK health and safety industry at a Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) Masterclass last night (Wednesday, October 7).

Kevin Myers, Director General, Regulation: Health and Safety Executive (HSE), United Kingdom, presented to 200 GCU students, staff, and industry representatives, during which he discussed health and safety in the 21st-century workplace as well as its future direction.

He said: “I’m a great believer in embedding health and safety into the formative programming and training of undergraduates, so they see it as something that supports and enables them going forward. The undergraduates are going to be the thought leaders and opinion formers in the future, so I’d like to inoculate their DNA with a good understanding of how health and safety is a great supporter of business while protecting workers at the same time.”

Mr Myers added that there is still much to be done in the present, however. He said: “We need to celebrate the fact we have good health and safety performance within the UK. It is, in fact, one of the best in the world. So why has health and safety got a bad reputation? We need a bigger understanding that health and safety is an element of managing business risk. If you’re successful at this, you’re likely to have a more productive workforce and it enables you to be successful in business, as opposed to it being an anchor to progression.

“I’m asking people to think about how health and safety fits into the way business operates and the opportunities that are there. We’ve got a society where there are some enlightened businesses doing really good stuff in this area, but at the same time we’ve still got problems in less well-informed places where people don’t know what is required or, worse, choose not to do it.”

The event also included a panel discussion, which, in addition to Mr Myers, was made up of Bryan Buchan, CEO Scottish Engineering; Ian Tasker, Scottish Trades Union Congress; and Reader in health and safety at GCU Billy Hare.

GCU research impact in the built environment is rated as in the top 20 in the UK following the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014). GCU researchers focus on managing Occupational Safety and Health in construction, including work specific to the UK’s Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations, which set the regulatory framework for OSH planning, worker participation and communication of OSH information.

Professor Iain Cameron, Dean of the School of Engineering and Built Environment, said: “We are delighted to have hosted such a well-known and influential individual, who, over the course of his career, has presided over the inauguration of HSE’s Construction Division, led HSE’s regulation of high-risk industries such as oil and gas, and has gone on to shape international health and safety regulation at the highest level. I’m sure we took benefit from his extensive experience and insights.”

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