In the Spotlight: Director of Health & Safety, Lee Mills

25 May 2016

We’d like to introduce you to our newly appointed Director of Health & Safety, Lee Mills, who joined us in April 2016.

Lee will focus on driving our Health & Safety service forward, ensuring we can continue to provide the very best advice and support to our growing client base.

With over 17 years’ experience in construction, offshore, petrochemical, nuclear and manufacturing sectors, Lee has real hands-on-experience and insight into why robust Health & Safety practices are essential for any business. Qualified to the highest level, Lee holds a  Master’s Degree in European Safety and Environmental Law, a Master’s Degree in Industrial Materials Engineering and a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics. He is a Chartered Member of IOSH and a Member of the IIRSM. He is qualified as a Lead Auditor in ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 and holds a Diploma as an NLP Practitioner. His ISO knowledge is a perfect fit for our recent acquisition of QMS – the ISO provider.

We’ve gained Lee’s vision on the future Health & Safety in the UK and how he will support our clients from a Health & Safety perspective.

Health & Safety in the UK

Too often Health & Safety is used as an excuse to stop doing something because organisations don’t like the behaviour and rather than say ‘we don’t like doing that’ they blame ‘elf and safety’ and this perpetuates the myth. See the latest article on the university that stopped throwing caps at graduation.  Rather than preventing accidents, they were really trying to protect the caps.

Unfortunately, to change this perception means getting through a lot of conditioning regarding ‘Health & Safety police’ type stories. In Health & Safety, we are in the business of achieving success when things don’t happen, which is very hard to promote. For example, how do you quantify and celebrate the fact that one of our consultants attends a client’s premises and implements a COSHH assessment which prevents a worker contracting skin cancer in 30 years’ time?

We have to actively promote the fact that good Health & Safety means good business. A business that has good health, safety, environment and quality management and demonstrates this through leadership behaviours is a good business in terms of staff engagement and the bottom line.

Since a major construction companies in the 1990s discovered that poor Health & Safety performance preceded poor financial performance by about three months, they started to use Health & Safety inspections and audits as a barometer and an ‘early earning system’ for the financial performance of its divisions and construction sites.

I want to see Health & Safety professionals move away from the clipboard and become a ‘can do’ professional. I would also like Health and Safety to be integral in an organisation, not a ‘if we must’ type of activity. Leaders of organisations should use the monitoring output of Health and Safety functions as a barometer of their business as a whole and ask ‘if we are not good at Health & Safety, what else are we poor at?’. This will help to sustain as a business, while at the same time help to improve staff engagement and ultimately lead to a successful business.

Supporting Citation’s clients with Health & Safety matters

Our Health & Safety professionals sometimes have to deliver bad news. We go into a client’s premises and identify areas for improvement. The reasons behind this are to protect the employees of that business from harm and therefore to protect the client’s business as a whole.

However, we don’t have to do this as a ‘safety policeman’; I perceive our role as identifying these issues, communicating these in the right way for the client and then assisting the client in closing off the issue to ensure that their workforce can all go home safely every day.

If it does go wrong, then our clients need to feel and know they are supported. Our out-of-hours service has been tested recently when one of our clients had a crane collapse in London over the Bank Holiday weekend. We took the call and arranged to get a consultant on site very quickly to support the client, even though it was a Bank Holiday. Having worked as Director of Safety for a company when a serious incident occurred; I know how important that support net is.

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