Head of Safety
Lend Lease UK PPP

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Elaine W

00:02 My name’s Elaine W I’m head of safety for Lend Lease UK PPP. On a day to day basis because I’m the head of safety I actually, I’m involved in the strategic side of things, so deciding where the company needs to go, what we as a team cos I have 2 people that work for me, need to do to meet the company’s objectives. We have incident and injury free as our value, we don’t want anybody to be hurt or ill by the work that we do.

00:27 That involves insuring that we’ve got health and safety systems that are effective across all of the UK PPP businesses which include education, health and retail. So I’ll work on the strategy of how we’re going to get there, we then tell the operations what they’ve got to do and then the guys that work for me go out and help them do that.

00:47 When I was at school I wanted to be a laboratory technician, and when I left school that’s exactly what I did. But it didn’t turn out that it was what I wanted to do long term. I was working in a local hospital so I was working in cross match so I was cross matching blood for people that were sick, so it was interesting from that point of view, but it was very mundane day in day out the same.

01:09 There weren’t many girls in my science class I think there were only 3 girls in the physics class that I did, I was doing my physics A level and I think there were 4 girls in the chemistry class so it wasn’t a usual thing for girls to follow science. I found it very interesting I’m the sort of person who likes to know how things work, I want to understand things and it was the subjects that I just found interesting and I was good at them.

01:32 Started off when I read an article in the Sunday Times magazine and there was, it described the role of an EHO which I thought sounded really interesting. I did some job training with them through my father who actually worked in the environmental health department and I didn’t realise.

01:49 My grandfather was a butcher, so that’s what I thought my dad did but what he actually did was he was a meat inspector, working for local authority, so when I showed an interest in it he sorted me out some work experience and then just all started from there.

02:04 Day one’s a long time ago, can I remember, exciting and but also a little bit scary, cos all of a sudden you’re responsible you know you’ve now you can’t say that you were a student anymore, you’ve got to go out and make some decisions, so whilst it’s exciting cos it’s a whole new load of experiences to have there’s also that little nagging doubt in the back of your head, do I really know what I’m doing and I don’t think that actually ever goes away.

02:32 Oh right well these are safety boots and these are my new safety boots that I got when I joined Lend Lease and they fit me which is unusual, when first started in health and safety there were very few women, when I worked in the slaughter houses when I first started I had aprons that were too long, boots that were too big and when I used to leave the slaughter house I couldn’t go through the normal exit cos it was a gentlemen’s changing facilities, I used to have to walk through the chill cabinets, and to this day I don’t know but somebody used to whistle the Laurel and Hardy tune as I waddled through, and I don’t know who it was cos I couldn’t see cos it was full of meat.

03:07 I can remember a moment when you stood and you thought, oh this is pretty horrific you know standing there in the processing plant but you are, you make a choice then, you either continue with it or you stop, and I just continued with it. Well we keep birds of prey, my partner and I we’ve got a goshawk at the moment and we’ve had a variety of different birds, so I fly those when I have time, it’s not a pet as such it’s something that we use with, we’ve got friends that are farmers so we fly it on their land to scare away their vermin.

03:44 I do it because I feel I make a difference and that’s the whole point and I like to think that what I do ensures that people are safe and so as long as I keep doing that, that will, I’ll keep doing it.

03:57 End

Elaine W is Head of Safety for Lend Lease UK PPP. “On a day to day basis I’m involved in the strategic side of things… what we as a team need to do to meet the company’s objectives. We have incident and injury free as our value, we don’t want anybody to be hurt or ill by the work that we do”. Elaine enjoyed science at school but after reading the job description for a Health and Safety Officer she decided that was what she wanted to do.

More information about Health and safety officers

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

75%  male 
25%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Health and safety officers counsel employees to ensure and promote health and safety in the workplace and co-ordinate accident prevention and health and safety measures within an establishment or organisation.
Entrants usually possess an NVQ/SVQ at Level 3 in Occupational Health and Safety Practice. Higher level accredited qualifications (at Levels 4 to 6) are achievable via the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
  • Inspects workplace areas to ensure compliance with health and safety legislation;
  • Helps to develop effective health and safety policies and procedures and carries out risk assessments;
  • Instructs workers in the proper use of protective clothing and safety devices and conducts routine tests on that equipment;
  • Compiles statistics on accidents and injuries, analyses their causes and makes recommendations to management accordingly;
  • Maintains contact with those off work due to illness;
  • Counsels individuals on any personal or domestic problems affecting their work;
  • Gives talks and distributes information on accident prevention, and keeps up to date with the relevant legislation.
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