SHEQ – An in depth look at Health and Safety

SHEQ – An in depth look at Health and Safety with Paul Nowell

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Paul Nowell joined Sigma in 2017 to look after Health and Safety and in just two years has taken the company on a significant journey towards becoming a world leader in all things safety related.

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Sigma, leading the way with Health & Safety


Paul starts, “Sigma is already known as an industry leader in health and safety and this was part of the appeal for me in joining them – I knew I would have a solid basis to work upon but also scope to make a real difference in elevating our capabilities and therefore reputation for safety. It’s an exciting challenge that I was very much up for.”

One of the biggest areas of focus for Paul in his early months was working with the British Safety Council (BSC) to help formalise some of the training that Sigma already offers its employees.  Sigma became a member of the BSC and went to register as a training centre following a strict assessment process, meaning that all of its training would be fully accredited

Drawing on his past as a trainer with the BSC, Paul worked closely with the Council to develop a suite of training material that was specific to Sigma but covered important issues from the perspective of the BSC.  Each course was designed to be delivered over one to one and a half days with exam questions set by OFQUAL (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation).  In a significant boost for Sigma’s new training programme, their courses were ranked as Level 2, which is the equivalent of a well-graded GSCE.

Working with the business, Paul knew that how they rolled out the training was as important as the training itself. He adds, “I firmly believed that frontline managers were key for us.  They became my priority group to get through the training, partly because of the role they hold as a manager and the importance of them knowing our expectations with health and safety but also because of the influence on their teams that they could have, having successfully been through the training themselves.”


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“In a relatively short space of time we have truly transformed the perception of health and safety with our people by helping them through relevant and purposeful training that actually relates to their day to day work” Paul Nowell
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In-House Health & Safety Training


As of the end of last year, 42 managers have completed, and passed, the training which is a real achievement for the business.  The ambition is that a further 200 employees who are supervisors and their direct reports will complete the training in the coming months We are also beginning the roll out of the Fire Safety OFQUAL in February.

The next area of focus for Paul is Directors and senior managers; “I’ve developed a new course for our directors to make sure they understand their responsibilities too.  It’s been designed from taking learning from Eversheds over a number of years and then brings in parts from IOSH and the BSC directors courses It covers both the legal and practical elements of health and safety for directors and senior level managers.”  So far, this has been completed by 19 senior managers with plans are to make it mandatory for anyone in a senior role.

As a training provider, Paul believes Sigma is now well ahead of the industry.  “We have a range of 14 online courses on a dedicated BSC platform available for employees as a mix of mandatory and optional courses. To date, over 1000 courses have been delivered to colleagues across the UK and Australia and this number is steadily increasing as our colleagues embrace this new and more engaging way of learning about health and safety”.

Paul summarises, “What we’re doing isn’t ground-breaking, but its impact shouldn’t be underestimated.  In a relatively short space of time we have truly transformed the perception of health and safety with our people by helping them through relevant and purposeful training that actually relates to their day to day work.  This means we’re safer as an organisation and for the clients we work with which in our industries is a real positive; this has been recognised in the industry awards we’ve won through the BSC.  I’m proud that we have a ‘safety first’ culture now – people want to be part of what we’re doing which is the best outcome we could hope for.”

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Courses delivered

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Managers passed level 2 OFQUAL

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Senior manager training presentations completed

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employees expected to complete training in 2020

 

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