Our logo says: ‘Careys - We Care’ It’s evident that we take this motto seriously from the respectful and caring way that we interact with and treat each of our colleagues, our supply partners and our clients. Across the entire Carey Group of specialist companies – from our site teams to our regional offices – we are committed to what we call the ‘Carey Way’. Essentially this means that we always attempt to deliver everything we do exceptionally well, to lead by example and to carry out our projects to the highest and safest of standards.

Our focus on health and safety is a major component of the Carey Way. It is reflected in a set of industry-leading standards and protocols that compose our Safe Home Every Day or SHED initiative and is the reason our projects regularly earn exemplary safety records.

This week we caught up with Health, Safety, Environment and Quality (HSEQ) Advisor, John Leary, who gave us a fantastic insight into his role, responsibilities and career highlights since joining Careys.  

My role and responsibilities

I joined Careys in August 2017. Currently, my day-to-day responsibilities entail visiting our projects across the region to ensure that we are legally compliant with regards to health, safety and environment regulations. I conduct audits and inspections on our projects, which provide a good indication about whether there are any areas we need to improve on.

Whilst visiting each project, there may be a need for in-house training, which I also deliver – alongside various internal and client meetings that I attend with project teams. These help us to risk profile all aspects of works to be completed.

How my experiences have equipped me for my career in HSEQ

I previously worked as a safety specialist for the United States Army in Kuwait on an array of specialist equipment and troop climatization processes. I had to engage with numerous nationalities on this project, which taught me how to relate to each individual’s culture, as well as various customs, beliefs and mindsets. This new understanding is something that is useful in today’s diverse industry workforce, where I am able to apply my experiences within my role on a day-to-day basis.

Finding my way into construction

When I left school at 16, in the mid ‘80s, unemployment was high and it wasn’t easy to get work in my hometown of Liverpool. I decided to travel to London, where I had heard that there were more job opportunities. Fortunately, quite soon after I arrived, I found a job as a labourer on a construction site in Paddington. During my working life I have worked in various roles within the construction industry – from a labourer, demolition worker, painter and decorator to a concrete finisher, plumbers’ mate and electricians’ mate. 

What appeals to me within the construction industry is the fact that you’re exposed to new places and have the opportunity to meet different people. And, once one project’s completed, you move on to the next one. Plus there’s the added bonus of getting to see parts of the country that I most likely wouldn’t have visited otherwise.

My favourite project to date

That is a very difficult question to answer because I’ve really enjoyed all the projects that I have been a part of. In some ways, they become your baby and you want the best for them and always look out for them. But, if I had to pick one that sticks out in my mind, it would have to be the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Hendon project.

I have a very good relationship with the Principal Contractor, Mace. The job has had its challenges, but with good planning and everyone contributing to the team effort, we’re very close to achieving our goal. This was the project where we unearthed three unexploded ordnances. As a team, we managed to ensure that the area was clear and safe for works to continue.

My advice for someone looking to pursue a similar career 

The best advice I can give is to follow a career that you enjoy. Find a job that you wake up each morning and cannot wait to get to work and give it your best. A person looking to start in construction should be under no illusions – in the summer it can be very hot and sweaty, and in the winter it can be wet, muddy, cold and windy. But, if you like travelling to interesting places, meeting some real great characters, seeing an empty space become a huge building and knowing deep inside that, in some way, you helped to build that – then pursue a career in construction.

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