Paul joined Careys in 2006 bringing a wealth of experience and skills to develop and improve HSEQT within Careys. He holds a NEBOSH Diploma and has held a number of senior safety management roles within the construction industry over the past 20 years, developing an extensive knowledge of civil engineering and building trades.

Key responsibilities include ensuring compliance with Careys' integrated management systems and providing proactive and reactive monitoring, training and competency and management review. He is firmly committed to encouraging teamwork, cooperation and a sense of individual responsibility for workplace safety.

Paul Johnson

Q&A's

What’s affected both us and the industry has been deregulation. It's a lot less prescriptive now than it used to be, and become more self-regulated. We have a lot more self-control and self-determination, but with that comes a lot more ambiguity. Some people are taking this as an excuse to do the absolute minimum, but the law says that you must do what is 'reasonably practicable'. That means you have the find a good middle ground.

Definitely the launch of our occupational health reviews. When we first suggested it people were asking why we had to do it and wondered whether we were just opening up a whole can of worms. We really wanted to see the big picture impact of what we’re doing to our teams - it's not good enough to have people doing really physical work for years and then one day turn around and find out they've injured themselves over time. We really care about our people so we wanted to know well in advance of anything going wrong so that we could prevent injuries!

These reviews have made a real difference, moving people up waiting lists and so on. They help us look at control measures and the plans we have in place – do they actually work? If we do these tests as we do it, we find things far quicker than usual and often well before they become a real problem.

The biggest challenge is consistency across the Group. We have some really exceptional sites and although all sites are above legal compliance, we want every site to be outstanding. Every company in the Group has an example of what good looks like but we still support our flagship sites to keep reducing the accident rates.

I’m all about the people not the numbers. What can we do that keeps that majority of people safe. It all comes down to 'reasonably practicable'. If I look to spend £10,000 to stop someone getting a paper cut you might ask what I'm doing, but if I spend another £10,000 to stop someone from falling off the roof of the building, you'd probably view that as sensible.

Keeping that balance is rarely as black and white as that but for us 'automatic' protection is often the best solution. If someone has to think about applying a safety measure, they might forget, but if it's automatically activated as soon as they start work, then they're better protected! 

It all comes down to the planning. Behavioural Science teaches us that we have to control the environment. We have to reduce the possible interventions by individuals that have been assessed to do the work safely. It’s about stacking the odds of safety in our favour. We control the environment that people are working in, not the people themselves. We always want people to use their initiative but we want to stop that initiative being rash and dangerous.

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