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Industry Expert - Craig Paton - Paton Safety Solutions

Industry Expert - Craig Paton - Paton Safety Solutions

We speak with Craig Paton Health, Safety & Wellness Manager at Paton Safety Solutions, to get his industry expert opinion...

Could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I started in construction on the tools with Balfour Beatty from the age of 21.

My friend was crushed in an accident on site and I started drinking really heavily. My mental health got to a point where I wanted to take my own life. Thankfully I saw the light.

It made me re-evaluate my life and I started doing my NEBOSH in my spare time. I got into H&S and worked with over 60 Clients.

I now speak to men in the construction industry about the dangers of drink and drugs when using them to fight depression. I've now been nearly 5 years sober (19th Feb anniversary).

I'm actively trying to drive down the number of industry suicides which stands at 507 at the last count.

I am the owner of Paton Safety Solutions.

people drinking in a bar

What made you decide to start your own business?

I wanted the freedom of working for Clients who suited my ethos and not just another company who are solely interested in box ticking.

I choose my relationships and who I want my good name aligned with.

What does a day in the life of a HSE Manager look like?

It’s always entertaining. I can be a safety manager one minute and a health manager the next, then I can change to be an agony aunt and put on my wellbeing manager hat. It is never dull.

What do you think makes a good Health & Safety Consultant?

Honesty, integrity and utilising common sense. You must be transparent and strong willed.

Do you think enough is done with regards to protecting workers mental health as well as physical health?

Long story short, no. It has become a tick box.

More should be done but it won’t as it is viewed as non-productive and it isn’t treated as seriously as it should be. This is why I branched out into the wellbeing side as I feel this is where I am most required.

mental wellbeing at work

What is the most useful tool you use to implement health & safety measures?

I always find that being as open as possible and using all levels of the company is imperative when it comes to implementing new measures.

Is there any technology you advise clients to use to prevent or reduce accidents on projects or increase mental wellbeing?

If it is wellbeing I always give the advice to use the apps I use, like insight timer.

insight timer free downloadable app

If it is health and safety then I have always liked the QR code for competencies such as My Passport. It assists us completing an audit on site and ensures person(s) are trained for the jobs being conducted.

Are there any health & safety resources you would recommend?

The HSE website, Barbour, IOSH (also their chat rooms), The British Safety Council. CITB and my peers and ex colleagues.

Where do you find new health & safety products on the market?

I do my nosey at health and safety events and see what things look good enough to bring to the table for Clients.

Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without (personally or professionally)?

I couldn’t live without my iPhone to be brutally honest! Apps like Insight Timer, LinkedIn for business and Tide for my accounts are life savers.

For any HSE Managers out there struggling to get health & safety investment from company owners, do you have any recommendations?

I always use case studies. Health and Safety doesn’t come at a cost until something happens.

Prime example, we had a manager that wouldn’t pay for a guard on a machine until I showed him the case studies regarding lacerations and lost limbs and how much companies were fined.

Do you have any advice for implementing change in the workplace, such as deploying new health & safety technology?

Identify what changes you need to make and the reason for the change. Create a new vision for change and inspire people by presenting a compelling vision for the future.

Communication is key. Communicate openly and frequently with all employees and use all channels of communication.

It is everyone’s challenge so we empower workers and managers to lead through change and involve them in the change process. It is important to celebrate success and reinforce the change.

workers communicating safety in a factory

Is it difficult to get change implemented working in an advisory capacity?

Yes, very. Although not impossible.

Do you think AI will play a part in health & safety in the near future?

Very much so. I think face to face training could become a thing of the past.

It can also assist with incident investigation, training, seminars and near-miss detection.

AI can detect when people do not follow safety protocols, and offers cost-effective learning opportunities in safety and health.

It can be used for speech recognition, recognise still images, situations and objects.

By using virtual reality, AI can be used for practice drills, which are normally expensive to run.

We hope you enjoyed this article, you can read and learn from other industry experts from across the globe, and learn from their insights into health & safety in a variety of industries.

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