Skip to Content, Skip to Navigation
Advertisement

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters


HI-VIZ

LIFE IN THE HEALTH AND SAFETY SECTOR

Chris Dent

ACC

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?

Before I joined ACC I enjoyed twelve years working for an international insurance company in London. My core areas of focus were the management of personal injury claims, defending litigated claims against the company’s insured clients and coordinating injury prevention. Prior to my career in insurance I spent several years at sea working on commercial fishing vessels in Iceland and Alaska.

DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT EMPLOYMENT.

Working for ACC as an injury prevention consultant offers a variety of different challenges from day to day. Typically I work with employers, helping them to implement or improve safety systems. The key is helping industry to understand that efficient H&S systems are part and parcel of a successful business. We also work to reduce injuries in the home environment. There is a focus on home safety due to the significant number and cost of injuries sustained by New Zealanders at home. The role is incredibly diverse and offers lots of opportunities to make a positive contribution, which is very rewarding

WHY DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN HEALTH AND SAFETY?

Perhaps sadly on my part, I have always found risk management and H&S an interesting science. That’s what got me into insurance in the first place, and managing risk is an integral part of working in the insurance industry. This was especially relevant in my role in the UK where expensive litigation would follow almost every accident. Making sure that the insured client is operating to acceptable health and safety practices is one way underwriters can manage their exposure and minimise the subsequent financial consequences should something go wrong.

WHAT TRAINING HAVE YOU HAD FOR THE ROLE?

A few years after graduating from university, I completed the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) certificate. I am a technician member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and try to keep up on my professional development where I can. Twelve years in the London market was a fantastic learning experience and offered some excellent training opportunities. ACC is also keen to provide training and support where it adds value to the business and improves the service we offer.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST SATISFYING ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?

Talking to employers and watching the penny drop as the link between improving their health & safety culture and improving the performance of their business becomes clear.

Keeping the message clear and consistent is key, as is finding the driver that will influence the person you are speaking to. It’s always pleasing when it feels as though you are making a positive difference, no matter how small.

WHAT’S THE HARDEST THING YOU’VE HAD TO DO?

Probably the discussion just before arriving at the eureka moment above. That, and getting used to New Zealand roads.

WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU ABOUT THE ROLE?

I’m genuinely impressed with the level of dedication and commitment of staff across ACC and the real desire that the organisation has to help Kiwis, individuals and businesses alike. For me, it’s a refreshing change from a system of often petty and time consuming “no win, no fee” litigation prevalent in the UK.

HOW HAS THE ROLE CHANGED YOU?

Working in H&S has certainly heightened my appreciation of “risk”, but it is important to balance that with practical considerations and to apply common sense to situations.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANYONE THINKING OF ENTERING THE OHS FIELD?

Go for it! If possible, complete a foundation qualification in H&S to get some of the basic skills. Then aim to get some practical experience to build up your knowledge. If your current employer doesn’t have suitable H&S systems in place, offer to take on the role, review existing practices and build it up yourself. Your local ACC injury prevention consultant will be happy to help you implement safer workplace practices and H&S systems. There is also a ton of good injury prevention advice on the ACC website you can access for free.

WHAT IS THE MOST RISKY THING YOU HAVE DONE?

Deep sea fishing certainly had its moments, but more recently; leaving the UK, a job where I was well established and friends and family to start a new life here in New Zealand definitely had a significant risk element for us, but it was a calculated risk and we are all really pleased that we made the move. I have also joined the NZ Fire Service as a volunteer fire fighter which hopefully, among other things, will teach me some more about risk management while keeping me on my toes.

Thomson Reuters

comments powered by Disqus

From Safeguard Magazine

Table of Contents