Industry Expert - Dave Spencer - AGCCE

Industry Expert - Dave Spencer - AGCCE

We speak with Dave Spencer, Health & Safety Manager at AGC Chemicals Europe, to get his industry expert opinion...

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

I started my Health & Safety career during my time working in the Oil and Gas industry. After a short period working of the drilling rigs, I transferred over to the marine sector, working in the sub sea construction sector.

It was a versatile and challenging career, from ensuring vessel compliance to local legislation (such as NOPSEMA in Australia, or NORSOK in Norway) to working in some of the most extreme weather conditions, while ensuring we met our clients and projects requirements.

After a 24-year career at sea, it was time for a new challenge and gain my land legs. I joined AGCCE in 2022, AGCCE is one of the world’s leading producers of fluorochemicals, and fluorochemical materials.

AGCCE is a great company and offers so much diversity along with daily challenges.

Man holding the Earth in his hands

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

To sum my days up in one word, it would just be “Busy”.

Here at AGCCE we are striving to become Health & Safety leaders in our industry, constantly pushing to improve not only within our safe systems of work, but also with our behavioural programs.

We are working closely with our staff to gain understanding of the daily challenges operators face, which provides a framework of improvements to move forward with.

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

A good Health & Safety manager possesses a combination of knowledge, skills, and qualities that contribute to effectively managing and promoting health and safety in the workplace.

Some key attributes are:-

Expertise: having a strong understanding of relevant laws, regulations, and best practices in occupational health and safety.

Communication skills: Effective communication is crucial for a Health & Safety manager. They need to be able to clearly and confidently convey safety procedures, policies, and expectations to employees at all levels of the organization.

Continuous learning: Health and safety regulations and practices evolve over time, so a good health and safety manager should have a commitment to ongoing learning and professional development.

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

The Compliance People - Legislation Update Service provides legal updates direct to your inbox of only the legislation relevant to you, as well as a host of other features to support you in managing your compliance obligations.

Compliance People website screenshot

Do you currently implement any technology to prevent or reduce accidents in your workplace?

Process Safety Management (PSM) Systems: These are comprehensive frameworks that include risk assessment, hazard identification, and management of potentially hazardous processes. PSM systems help in preventing accidents by implementing rigorous safety protocols.

Are there any health & safety resources you would recommend?

The Compliance People – Legislation Update Service

EcoOnline – COSHH Assessment system

Safety Culture – Inspections, schedules & action trackers

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

LinkedIn – great for networking and connecting.

Company newsletters such as 3M.

Networking within IOSH, open forums.

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

I’m personally a gadget fanatic, Apple through and through from my perspective, never lets me down.

Works seamlessly with my SONOS speaker system, much to my neighbour’s pleasure.

Decibel levels next door

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

Highlight the Benefits: Clearly communicate the benefits of investing in health and safety.

Demonstrate Return on Investment (ROI): Present data and statistics that show the potential financial impact of investing in health and safety.

Provide Case Studies and Success Stories: Share examples of other companies in the same industry or similar circumstances.

Develop a Clear Plan: Create a detailed plan outlining the specific health and safety initiatives and investments required.

Remember, persistence and effective communication are key. Continuously emphasize the importance of health and safety, provide evidence-backed arguments, and engage in open dialogue with company owners to address any concerns or objections they may have.

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

Implementing change in the workplace, especially when deploying new health and safety technology, can be challenging.

Key points would be to:-

Communicate the Need for Change: Clearly explain why the change is necessary and how it will benefit the organization, employees, and overall health and safety.

Create a Comprehensive Implementation Plan: Develop a detailed plan that outlines the steps involved in implementing the new technology.

Involve Key Stakeholders: Engage with key stakeholders, such as employees, supervisors, and HSE representatives, throughout the process.

Provide Adequate Training and Support: Offer comprehensive training programs to ensure that employees understand how to effectively use the new technology.

Remember that change takes time and may encounter resistance along the way. It's important to remain patient, address concerns, and continuously communicate the benefits of the new technology to gain buy-in from employees and ensure a successful implementation.

AI robotic arm

What are the biggest risks you deal with in your role and how do you manage them?

Occupational health hazards, such as exposure to harmful substances or ergonomic risks, pose significant risks.

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

Absolutely! AI has the potential to significantly impact health and safety in the future.

Predictive Analytics, Real-time Monitoring, and Intelligent Safety Systems, to name a few.

However, it's important to note that while AI can be a valuable tool, it should not replace human expertise and judgment. Health and safety professionals will still play a critical role in interpreting data, making strategic decisions, and ensuring the overall effectiveness of health and safety programs.

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