Welcoming Ben Hodsoll – Health & Safety Manager
We would like to give a warm Charles Edward welcome to our newest ‘Construction Pioneer’, Ben Hodsoll, who is joining us as Health and Safety Manager.
We caught up with Ben to ask him a few questions around his role and how he plans to take this area forward within the company.
Hi Ben. You were in the British Army for many years – how do you think that has assisted you in your current role?
The leadership and management skills you gain in the Armed Forces take many leaders a lifetime to gain, it is not all about shouting but how to influence and inspire people. As a Health & Safety professional the key transferable skills I have adopted is my leadership skills; which I use to inspire and influence the workforce, and effective communication; after working with diverse cultures all over the world I take pride in understanding the needs of the individual, through building relationships and proactive means of communication.
Over the years there has, what seems to be a separation between “Health” & “Safety”, with a key focus now being on mental health, what are your thoughts on this?
After my time in the Armed Forces and having friends who have been on their own journeys, mental health is a hot topic for me. Throughout the years we have always looked after the physical element of our workforce, however wellbeing and mental health has always had a certain stigma attached – the person who needed that helping hand did not always reach out due to a masculine persona or pride, and the employer often failed to recognise or understand the situation as no physical injuries were visible.
It is great to see several initiatives being implemented, including specific mental health first aid courses, charters and commitments by companies to implement programs and mental health specific inductions. My only advise would be awareness and procedures are an important element, however this is only the first step in supporting the workforce. We need to ensure we are getting out of the office, speaking to the teams and getting to know the work force; who they are, families, hobbies, etc. If you understand and get to know your employees, when things start to go wrong you will have more chance in seeing the change in characteristics, unusual behaviour and unplanned absence.
You have joined us from PJ Carey [Contractors], which is an excellent platform to build a career in health and safety. Why did you choose to join Charles Edward?
I have had the pleasure of being involved with a diverse portfolio of projects throughout my career and working with Charles Edward will allow this to continue.
To lead and implement the health and safety side of a business unit was an opportunity I could not turn down and after meeting Zoe and the team I loved the way in which they approached things and their individual work ethos, the company wide environment is one where everyone works as one team to achieve success, with plenty of laughs along the way. Charles Edward is a unique team, which anyone would jump at the chance to work with them, I am privileged to be able to have that opportunity.
What are your key focuses for Health & Safety this year?
2018 is going to be an exciting year, a lot is on my radar. One of my plans is to encourage collaborative planning through all stages of our associated projects, but not just from a contractor’s capabilities, we will be ensuring designers and third parties are looking at the hazards and associated risk through the lifecycle of the project inclusive of construction phase.
I will also be looking at occupational health, not just from a compliance stance but from an educational and awareness view to ensure our employees and our supply chain are clear of the short term and long effects (respiratory diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, occupational stress and related mental health).
As a company we will be engaging with industry forums, with both operational and Health & Safety representatives to ensure the drive and commitment is not just from a HSE perspective, but driven by the entire company. I will be looking at new technology and innovations to improve the way in which we conduct our works including plans to design out the risk at the design and procurement stage, as well as the use and trialling of new equipment. I will be conducting a complete review of our IMS, to ensure the correct support system is in place to accommodate our works and to be leaders within our chosen sector allowing us to excel beyond what is considered the norm.
What are the best Health & Safety innovations you have seen recently?
I really like the increase in vacuum lifters within the construction industry, they significantly reduce the risk of manual handling related injuries. I had the chance to trial a tracked Probst Vacuum Lifter (TRANSMOBIL TM Installation Carrier) and the movement of a paving slab could be achieved with the touch of a finger, instead of the tradition manual lifter (2 man lift). It had a lifting capability of 200kg with hose full extended and 250kg retracted which significantly increased the production.
And a few quick fire questions… You win tonights £150M Euromillions jackpot – whats the first thing you do?
Buy the dream home with a swimming pool, cinema and spa, then go travelling around America for a month (during the school holidays so the kids can come). however I could never give up work.
What was the last film to watched?
IT (2017) – The wife didn’t believe me when I said it was a comedy…
You can invite any 3 people to dinner – who would they be?
James Corden, Allan Carr and Kevin Hart
Thanks Ben! We wish you all the best in the new role.