A board director from leading drainage service provider Lanes Group plc has taken the unusual step of achieved a nationally-recognised health and safety qualification – as part of his drive to promote a positive safety culture within the workplace.
Conrad Ashby, the Framework Director for the company’s Thames Water Wastewater Network Services maintenance contract, has been awarded a NEBOSH National General Certificate with distinction.
He studied for the qualification over four-weeks with the British Safety Council, which says it was not common for senior company directors to seek and achieve an occupational health and safety qualification in this way.
Ashby said: “I was inspired to gain the qualification by Thames Water which has a programme of putting its line managers through the same course.
“I realised that, despite having responsibility for health and safety at many times throughout my career, I have never had a formal health and safety qualification, so wanted to put that right.
“I’ve learned a lot of new things, and have been reminded about others that I had forgotten. Also, being able to meet and study with people from different industry backgrounds who were looking to further their careers in health and safety was insightful.
“It was tough to complete the class-based learning, along with evening and weekend study, for the two exams and project submission, while maintaining the day job.
“But it was a very useful experience, that has already helped support my business decision-making, and will continue to do so.”
British Safety Council course tutor, Tracy Hill, said: “Conrad is passionate about developing a strong health and safety culture at his company, and this qualification will enable him to lead from the front while energetically supporting others. This proactive approach will have benefits for the company, its people and the wider public.”
Ashby is a passionate advocate for the Lanes ‘Serious about Safety’ cultural campaign within Lanes Group, which has been awarded the RoSPA Gold Medal for 2016, after achieving the RoSPA Gold Award for the seventh consecutive year.
He also champions health and safety training in Lanes’ Thames Water operation, which responds to 1,000 drain and sewer unblocking and repair jobs every day, and operates a fleet of more than 400 specialist drainage vehicles.
Under his leadership, all people managers and supervisors, a total of some 70 personnel, in a contract workforce of nearly 1,000 staff, are being put through the IOSH Managing Safely course, in a programme due to be completed in June.
In addition, he is sponsoring others in the management team to undertake the NEBOSH qualification.
Lanes has also put in place a rigorous new assessment procedure for sub-contractors and suppliers. This requires them to have a health and safety development plan managed by a qualified health and safety lead, to demonstrate they are actively supporting staff to work safely.
The NEBOSH National General Certificate is the most widely held health and safety qualification in the UK. More than 175,000 people having gained the award since it was launched in 1989, with many gaining it as a first step in a career in health and safety.