Displaying items by tag: safety

I had an enquiry at the end of the week about the possibility of running a Lego Serious Play Facilitation session at a conference. During the phone call the gentleman asked the very question that all people involved with health and safety are looking for. - 'What does health and safety look like?' The only issue was he couldn't see what it would look like using Lego. I could not answer that question as it was a phone call and the limit of communication via a phone line is the lack of visual interaction.

Well, I thought I need to answer that question? The answer is in the bricks (while training we were always told trust the bricks). So while I sit in my hotel room near Chesterfield on a Sunday night, I decided to build my answer (using the bricks available in a window exploration bag. Not all bricks used).

You can see the answer in the attached picture below (built in 3 minutes, any longer and you start to question the question and build what you think other want). So let me explain my answer.

health and safety


Health and safety is about getting everybody to see the hazards and identifying where they are. It's about providing a barrier to keep them safe. All the time being transparent what they can and can't do, and being clear why this is the case. Finally, it's about getting everybody to have ideas of their own, and own it as well to how health and safety can be improved in the workplace.

 What would you build? And Why? It's not just about your model that you built, it is what others build too. And getting that shared model that everybody can commit to, in improving that culture where everyone goes home and returns to work everyday.

So if you want to explore what your lads and lassies would build for a healthier and safer culture then get in touch. By the way why not build and share your models and lets build a better culture together.

Published in Blog
Saturday, 17 September 2016 12:15

The Orchard Workplace


It is sometimes weird where them moments of creative thinking comes from! I have just had one today from the most unlikely sources the film Revolver. Actually, tell a lie it started yesterday evening, I was watching TV and the adverts were on and a tune accompanying one of these adverts was a haunting tune and I knew that I had heard it from the film Revolver, but couldn't remember the name of it.

Well, searching this morning for the name of the tune (Gnossienne "No.1" (from Erik Satie performed by Alessandra Celletti). While reading about how the film was panned by the so called critics. I also read that Guy Richie was inspired by Kabbalah to make the film, so like you do I clicked the link and came across this story on Wikipedia.


'Four men entered pardes — Ben AzzaiBen ZomaAcher (Elisha ben Abuyah), and Rabbi Akiva. Ben Azzai looked and died; Ben Zoma looked and went mad; Acher destroyed the plants; Akiva entered in peace and departed in peace'.


This got me thinking about the characters at in an organisation and how they react to things happening especially when the business wants to improve the culture. 

  • The first man is the one that leaves everything at the gate and never really wants to be involved. 
  • The second man is the person who cannot get a grip of the way the organisation wants to do things because it doesn't fit in with their view of the world 
  • The third man is the that person who will do anything to upset the apple cart because their world is changing and they have no control of what is happening. 
  • The last man is is the person who opens their mind and heart in accepting that things need to change for the better, even though it goes against what they know.

These are the four characters across all levels of the organisation. Even though they are spread across the business, you will find that some are more visible than others in the many layers and departments.

But what makes them tick to act the way they do? Well, looking a bit deeper into Kabbalah and I came across the type of approaches (Wikipedia)

  • Peshat (פְּשָׁט) "surface" ("straight") or the literal (direct) meaning. 
  • Remez (רֶמֶז) "hints" or the deep (allegoric: hidden or symbolic) meaning beyond just the literal sense.
  • Derash (דְּרַשׁ) from Hebrew darash: "inquire" ("seek") — the comparative (midrashic) meaning, as given through similar occurrences.
  • Sod (סוֹד) (pronounced with a long O as in 'sore') "secret" ("mystery") or the esoteric/mystical meaning, as given through inspiration or revelation.

So, if we break it down to the following questions, then answers will appear in helping enhance the culture that has evolved over time.

  • How do people read the situations (see, hear, touch and/or speak)? 
  • How do people pick up on the clues around them in situations (see, hear, touch and/or speak)?
  • How do people ask questions about the situations around them (positive or negative)?
  • What makes people want to improve (the drive)?

Sometimes its not about new thinking that drives improvements, but reading old texts and revamping them for the modern world to make them fit in the environments that we encounter everybody.

Published in Blog

This week I attend a facilitation course to run Lego Serious Play, you may think how can this make a difference to my organisation?


Well, it changes the way people get involved with the questions being asked, especially with cultural change. The methodology of the serious play thinking is that everybody is involved in the session as they lean in, building their ideals in real time and giving that out of the box answer.


As everybody is involved it can stop that poor survey response because the session becomes the survey and everybody has to be involved and respond. As the other members of the session questions the model, not the person. So, a strategy evolves in front of your eyes and in your hands. 


Health and safety can benefit and be improved as well as instead of people sitting around, arms crossed and looking at either the floor or ceiling, they get involved as they are invited to take part and express their views.


There is no PowerPoint, no flipcharts and no sitting around listening to someone teach a subject,. It is lean in, involving everyone and fun with a goal in mind.


Plato said 'You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation'. Nearly 2500 years later we are starting to see how right he was. A session can last a few hours to a couple of days depending how deep you want to go.


Play brings the best out of us and it gives a new light to areas that have become stale and run out of ideas. It allows people to join in where before there were not involved or felt part off the process. It makes ideas easier to see as they are there on the table staring us in the face.


As most people are either visual or kinaesthetic when they learn a large majority of employees are involved straightaway, the auditory learners are still involved as they are included at the storytelling and Q&A. It is a very much win - win situation when it comes to moving things forward in the right direction.


Other uses for the Lego Serious Play to help the organisation can be coaching and mentoring employees (any level) or mindfulness sessions to unlocking employees stress,



If you are interested in developing employees and/or the organisation then please get in touch to discuss your requirements in going to new frontiers.

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 19:20

Queen Sacrifice

I love chess, its a game that gets you thinking not just about your move, but that of your opponents as you try and second guess what their next move is and maybe the next couple after that.


One of the biggest moves in chess is the queen sacrifice, where you give up the most powerful piece on the board. It takes a great player to do such a move, because most will hang on to the queen for as long as possible, hoping to win or draw a game with it.


Sometimes for the good we have to sacrifice something at work, even though at the time it looks a weird move and everybody is thinking have you finally, lost their mind.


This is where a great employee differs from the rest. To change a culture (especially, for a healthier and safer one) everybody has got to learn to sacrifice a little something to help change things for the better. If they don't things will never change and more than likely in the end they will lose everything, as they try and hold on to everything the got.


It's about letting people see the bigger picture and see that the little sacrifice being made will benefit not only the business, but themselves as well. It's that win-win situation  for all concerned.



None of us like to wear PPE (mainly because its uncomfortable and at times makes the job a little awkward) but that little sacrifice will help us be safer for now and healthier in the future.

Published in Blog
Sunday, 21 August 2016 13:02


If you hadn't notice the last couple of weeks there has been lots of people trying to put 4 years of hard work to good use as they hope that at the end a gold medal is placed over their neck.


4 years seems a very long time to most people, as they hope most of the time just to get through one year at a time. It is nearly 4 years since I took that little step in front of my first audience to tell them about that day and the affects and effects since.


It wasn't the most brilliant of talks as I stumbled over my words, as they disappeared from my mind. I was also challenged by one of the delegates as he said he wouldn't or none of his colleagues would do that stupid thing that I had done. He was right it was a stupid thing to do, diving in trying to get a machine up and running again. What he couldn't see was that he was doing the same, as he described why he had scares down his neck because he scrapped the slag off the molten metal.


I'm getting off track (no pun intended) when I look back now it must be like all them sports men and women out in Rio, they must of faced times when they could just of turned their backs and walk away from it all, but something drives them to keep going and beat the challenge ahead.


That's how I look at the challenge of inspiring others to work safer and go home everyday to their love ones. There is at times going to be that hurdle just a little bit to high and you just can't see a way over. You start to get angry as the more you try the more you fail. The challenge looks like its got the better of you, but then one day you see a different way of doing things and the hurdle appears tiny and you power ahead to the next challenge.


What I have described is the challenging person in the room, the one who wants to point a finger at me and tell me I'm stupid for doing what I did. They are right I was and if only I could turn back time, I can't as much as I wish to be in my little mill doing what I was good at.


Actually, they need to point the finger at themselves as they need to tell themselves they are the stupid one because so, far they have been the lucky one not to end up in hospital.



My way of dealing with addressing the challenges of getting that healthier safer attitude is to go off at a tangent. Why as it gets people thinking as I know that one slide, one story could get the result I'm hoping for a family not receiving that phone call or knock at the door.

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 22 December 2015 15:30

December Blog




As we come to the end of the year, we normally reflect on the year gone past and start to look forward to the new year ahead.


Do we really ask the questions that matter, to help us grow from what has happened over the past 52 weeks and what do we want for the next 52 coming up.


This leads us to the working environment do we really ask the important questions to enhance a culture, it is not about changing cultures, but enhancement of the one we already have. Building on the good things that already exist. You cannot change it as the culture has been allowed to grow and mature over time.


We are getting there with improving cultures and with that health and safety, along with the environmental impact to the outside world.


There has to this point been 3 ages:


The first age was about replacements, if a tool broke we replaced it, just like the men, women and child maimed or killed in the workplace.


The second age was about engineering things out, especially the installing of guards to stop contact with moving parts. (reactive to issues)


The third age and we are still there is about telling and informing employees what they can or cannot do. (passive active to issues)


We need to move into the forth age of interaction asking the employee what is needed and being proactive about things getting out there and being amongst the action. Finding out the everyday issues and challenges faced to get the job done to the highest standards.


This is where we can learn a lot from sport, especially from team games, take any football team from the Premier League or Football League, they train every day to get the best out of themselves. Managers and coaches are amongst the players talking, coaching and being a mentor to them.


How many organisations are like what I just described? Not, many because there has been this invisible drawbridge pulled up to stop the interaction, as managers do the paperwork, supervisors crack the whip and the workers get things done and out the door.


So, I ask you where is your organisation?


  1. One household, where everybody knows what is expected of them and everybody has a voice in deciding what is needed.
  2. Next Door Neighbours, where you have a good relationship with each other, but once the front door is shut good get on with what you need to and let them get on with their own business.
  3. Live on a Street, where you say hello and how is the weather, but other than that. You all get on with your own business.
  4. Ghetto, no body communicates and everybody has their own agenda. Allies are built only for each other's benefits. Shifts and departments have high walls around them to keep others out and they are not interested in the goals.


With C and D the safety department is very much the envoy going around all the time trying to keep channels of communication open, to stop wars erupting all over the place.


So, how do you move from C and D take others with you to a department, talk about the issues firstly that they face and once the common bonds are established, move to what works well and the standards they expect in each department. It is not an overnight thing it takes months, if not years, but you got to keep plugging away.


Successful teams don't become champions straightaway, it takes years of hard work to become number one. So, to get the organisation to one household will take time, and the way to achieve this is one step at a time and be proactive and ask the why and how questions and get to learn the jobs that people do, and invite them to follow you around learning what to do.


The two questions that need to be asked to kick the whole process off is:


  1. What legacy do you and the department want to leave? And why?
  2. What standards do you and the department aim for? And why?


There is a third question that needs to be asked and it involves everybody in the organisation. How are we (the department/organisation) going to achieve better and higher?



I wish everybody a Merry Christmas and Successful 2016

Published in Blog
Thursday, 26 November 2015 18:36

November's Blog

Well November is nearly over and now we look forward to that mad week at the end of December. It is a mad week for my family as there is that great day (on the 25th) where all the family meet up chew over the year (like most families up and down the country) and then in between that and the new year celebrations, where futures are visualised there is Cheryl's and my birthdays to celebrate as well. 


That is the near future, what about this month, well where do I start? It has been and will be a month of mixed emotions. 


Firstly, it's been a month of travel around the world first stop was to the Middle East, Adu Dhabi in fact and having the pleasure of speaking to the world, okay, not all 7 billion, but 450 people from different parts of it, for the OPITO safety conference


This week it's been to the land of the free, The USA (Buffalo) to complete the second of Unifrax's safety leadership courses, and to give that inspiring speech to get the senior management (leadership) to reflect and take forward what happens when all levels act independently of each other, the first course was at Manchester the day after OPITO.


It has not all been about jet setting! Work is just important here as well. In between flying 12000 miles. I have put in place some new poster designs at Pointon's during the company’s cultural enhancement program being supported by Dan Terry and myself.


This week I finish the month off locally of sorts first to Reading and then Brentwood for Countryside Properties with Dan again delivering his concept course of Leading and Behaving Safely. 


That all the exciting things out the way, because 3 years ago when I started this journey I never saw travel around the world and making that difference to people. I just thought it would be an odd trip up and down the M1 now and again.


The sobering thing now is that this week will be the 15th anniversary of why I do what I do! Inspiring other to go home safely and in good health to their families. That incident did not only change my life, but that of family, friends and work mates. 




At approximately 8.15 on the 25th November 2000, the house of cards built by all that worked at the RCF Plant collapsed. 


Complacency had struck and I was at the centre of it! If it were not for the quick thinking of my work mates (Jon, John, Steve and especially Darren), I would not be writing this blog today.


So, what have I learnt over the years? Well, it is purely this there are some people who have changed for the good and think about what they are doing more, there are a majority who were touched and take that little extra time when it suits, and unfortunately, there is a hard-core section who will never change, because it will never happen to me.


That is where I am going to share with you the two things that have been said over the month that have really stuck in my mind. So, I am going to start back to front the first was from David CEO of Unifrax he said


‘Gentlemen, We are in a battle everyday for the hearts, behaviours and attitudes for the people who work for us!’


It is really strong language to use, but he is right! In any organisation, there is a battlefield where good practice is fighting bad practice every day.


Where is this battlefield? It is inside the employees themselves, where the battle is taking place. They are the ones who are having this constant battle with themselves over good practice and bad practice. Like with all wars there are casualties, the minor injuries, the major injuries and the fatal injuries. 


The war is slowly being won! Casualties are coming down as a whole the message is getting through, but it has hit a wall, as stats show the momentum has started to slow and stall.


In addition, this is where the second part that hit home comes into play. Senior Managers/Leaders are going to have to change tack to get that final push; they cannot be 19th Century Generals sitting on horseback directing the battle from the back anymore!


They are going to have to go back to basics and do what Henry V and Alexander the Great did and fight, shoulder to shoulder with their men and live amongst their men too! The message has to be lead from the front! 


This is where the second thing plays it’s hand, while Andrew Garner was presenting at the OPITO conference he told the audience that they needed to shift their views and stop using buzz words concerning downturns, upturns, but to view the world’s current situations as 'this is the new reality! Deal with it.' 


The new reality is to enhance a culture you need to be amongst it, you need to be in it! Living it, breathing it and be amongst it. 


Take Care


OPITO Conference Gallery

Published in Blog
Monday, 23 November 2015 15:43

Promotional Video

Back in June I commissioned a video, to get my service more noticed.

Where do you start? Well, for me it was easy! I was going to use the game of chess to deliver the message. I have played chess since I was about 9 years old. I'm not a grandmaster, but a steady player.

Chess is a game of endless moves and situations, just like real life. And just like real life we make mistakes, some little and we get away we it. Unfortunately, sometimes there are big mistakes and we lose the game.

So, at the end of August Shaun from Beautiful Life Media done his magic and produced the promotional video below. 

Click the link for Youtube or if you prefer Vimeo

Video by Beautiful Life Media


Published in Blog
Sunday, 02 August 2015 00:00

What Makes My Job Rewarding!

So, what makes my job rewarding? Well it's when you get emails from attendees just like the ones below.

Hi Paul

I attended your course at Romiley Board Mill yesterday.
I would just like to say a huge Thank you to you all for the delivery of such a powerful insight into safety at work.
Your stories were so moving and really have touched myself and the other attendees.
The course itself was the very best 'health and safety' session I have ever sat, it certainly gave us all wake up call to how important it is to look out for ourselves and others and to always think of the bigger picture.
It was a pleasure to meet you all and I wish you all the very best in the future.

Thanks again,

Anne Stewart.

Hi Paul
> speaking to you at IOSH meeting in Hull Yesterday , I found  was emotional with regards to your accident. and all you said I could relate to in my current workplace.  I would just like to Thank you again for you story and the chat,  you have inspired me to communicate and interact with all my work colleagues( Managers& shop floor staff) in closing gaps and production can be carried out safe and  good morale in the workforce will meet production targets more safely  and within time. Kind Regards
> Steve Larvin  Bsc Hons

It means a lot to me that someone sitting there has taken the time to write and express their feelings to you. In that it has inspired them to work safer and it will have a knock on affect to their love ones and work colleagues.

It's great to know that short time that I spoke to Anne and Steve will have a lasting presences on them in a good way.

Published in Blog
Thursday, 16 April 2015 00:00

Is Time the Biggest Safety Device?

Why am I writing this blog? I write it as I'm sitting at home with a few moments reflecting on the last 3 years of delivering speeches about my accident in November 2000 and the effects afterwards.

I have travelled the length and width of the country (UK) talking to thousands of people from many industries (paper [my own], construction, food and drink, aviation and farming). I have attended (as guest speaker) conferences as well, so other industries have been covered as well without my knowledge. In November this year I will be attending the OPITO Safety and Competence Conference in Abu Dhabi (http://www.opito-oscc.com/speakers.asp) and will talk about them horrific moments back in 2000, so my message will be going worldwide.

Yes, it will have an impact to the audience, the some as all the others that I have spoken to, and for a time it will make the difference, just like the story I tell concerning the little boy, the starfish and his granddad.

This is where I'm going the ask the question, that I have asked myself lately 'Is Time the Biggest Safety Device?' when I tour factories and sites around the country, I see some fantastic safety devices and behaviour, but one thing I do notice is that the amount of time, I hear people talking about 'how much time they have to complete tasks?'

It is not just in the workplace, its people rushing around to get to connecting travel options or when your driving seeing 'white vans' or 'sales reps' rushing down the outside lane to get to where they need to be!

Thinking about November 2000, those involved and afterwards can't turn back time, as much as we would like to, we can't, but for those of you that read this blog. You have TIME to change the habits that your currently in, so use that time wisely to make the difference, and don't end up like myself or the other 20,000 people in the UK each year that end up having a major injury at work. 

As much as organisations put in place guards, training, risk assessments and safe systems of work. How many talk about time? Yes, there are some that talk about take 5 (and yes that's great when assessing the task), but how many actually talk about getting operators and engineers etc to slowdown their demeanour for the day at work and to and from as well. 

I not saying that everybody now goes around at a snails pace, but I'm saying that we need to slowdown and think through the actions we take every moment and not just them times, when the task looks a little tricky.

Take care now, tomorrow and do it not just for yourself, but your family as well as they look forward to having you home.

Published in Blog
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What People Say

  • Paul was an important part of this course. As it happened to him and not somebody in a DVD. It really brought it home accidents do happen to real people and not an actor.

    W. Harron

    SITA Doncaster

  • Paul's speech gave true insight into the impact of an accident rather than just a dramatized video about just what happened at the time of it.

    W. Evans

    C.Spencers Group

  • Paul's presentation of his experiences was very moving, and inspirational. I believe him being here to talk through and being able to ask questions first hand was great.


    C.Spencers Group

Paul Mahoney

Paul Mahoney

For a Safer World Tomorrow


Phone: 07715297606