We all know how important it is to protect workers and employees against harm to their health and safety. One person that knows that better than anyone else is Tim Briggs, (Past President of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and currently the Chair of the Professional Standards Committee of IOSH). Before embarking upon a teaching career, Tims career was extraordinarily diverse, working in diverse industrial roles before starting his health and safety career in the rail industry. He holds a Master’s Degree in Training and Development, is a qualified adult teacher as well as holding a Postgraduate Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health.
Please tell us about yourself?
I am now a teacher at University but have had several different working environments, beginning my working life as a nurse then joining the British Army, then working on the railway before entering education as a lecturer. Much of my working life has involved developing people and I owe much of my success to those people who had more faith in my ability than I did.
I have graduated from three Universities, Huddersfield, Leeds Metropolitan (as it was then) and Nottingham Trent University. I have a masters degree in Training and Development, aligned with a PG Diploma in OH&S, together with a Diploma in Psychology as well as an Adult Teaching Qualification. As Course Director at Leeds Beckett University, I am responsible for the development and day to day operations of the H&S courses at Masters Level and Undergraduate Level. Other parts of my duties have involved the development of modules to meet the IOSH Core Curriculum. I have also acted as an external panel member for external University validation panels.
I have designed and developed courses in OH&S from both a technical aspect, as well as from a practitioner development perspective. I firmly believe in the principle of involving people in finding the solutions. I am first and foremost a people developer which affects my whole approach to safety management. I operate on the principle of it is people that make things unsafe, but it is people that make things safer, so work and develop your people to improve health and safety matters, not the easiest way but one of the most satisfying ways of achieving improvements.
I also teach overseas, and since 2007 have taught at Bordeaux University delivering people development courses to aspiring French Students, something which I pride myself in has always been well received by the French Students and is regarded as an important area by Bordeaux University staff. This experience has taught me many vital lessons in ensuring effective communication and the benefit of full explanations.
How was your journey as a president in IOSH?
I joined IOSH in 1999, was immediately asked to join the Yorkshire Branch Committee and served as a Branch Committee member for 1 year. I then took on the role of Branch Secretary, whilst Branch Secretary I started to develop tools and approaches that allowed the Branch Committee to provide a service to members that allowed members to share and develop their knowledge.
After 2 years, I was invited to become Branch Vice Chair, where I was able to influence the development of the Branch programme. It was during this time I was asked to speak at IOSH Council of Management to introduce them to a people development programme which was called Mentoring. I worked to develop mentoring training from Branch members to help introduce them to the concepts and methods good mentors used to help develop their members. I also developed a technique and process for identifying those members who would be an asset to IOSH as mentors. I also personally mentored IOSH members. As IOSH developed and introduced the path to Chartered Member I developed the mentoring scheme to help those members trying to achieve Chartered status. I have assisted many practitioners in achieving Chartered Membership status, including many international members. I delivered the mentoring training both in GB and overseas free of charge only claiming travel expenses, which added to my understanding of international aspects of implementing H&S initiatives.
At this time, I was also asked to put myself forward for election to IOSH Council and served Yorkshire Branch for two years as Branch Chair. I also applied for Chartered Fellowship and became a very proud Chartered Fellow.
I was then asked to Chair the Working Group that was responsible for developing the IOSH Core Curriculum and was delighted when we provided the first modern IOSH Curriculum that not only included Technical Safety but also included a whole raft of interpersonal skills that practitioners need to learn and be aware of, such as change management, budgeting, team building, leadership among many other topics. This is where I began to get my interest in Safety Leadership and began developing my research based on my practical experiences of providing leadership.
I also started to be asked to present at national conferences on subjects aligned with mentoring and people development. This has expanded into the international marketplace where I am now asked to present on many safety issues, including health, leadership, people development and more often supporting the IOSH No Time to Lose Cancer Campaign.
I became IOSH President-Elect in 2013 and had a busy time representing the IOSH community, the IOSH organization and of course Leeds Beckett University. During the time on the IOSH Presidential Team, I began the leadership theme followed by three of my successors. During my travels on behalf of IOSH, I was able to influence the teaching community regarding safety teaching. It was at this time I started to investigate the development of the Leeds Beckett courses and developing internationalization of the course. We now have three partners overseas with other partners considering delivering the Leeds Beckett H&S courses. Singapore is a real success with over 180 students per year studying for the Leeds Beckett degree. My time as President was where my leadership skills proved vital, 2014 was a difficult year but working together with people we delivered IOSH as an organization forward, to a point where future development could be built upon. My proudest memory was when I was given three standing ovations by my IOSH peers because of my contribution as a Presidential team member, very proud.
Since then I have supported the IOSH No Time to Lose Campaign which is raising awareness of Occupational Cancers, such as solar radiation leading to skin cancer, cancer from diesel fumes, cancers from silica dust and Asbestos. I was a major contributor to the Asbestos Awareness campaign and am delighted to see the campaign being so widely supported by many organisations, industries and government agencies.
During my time on the Presidential Team, I was also nominated to become Chair of the Professional Standards Committee. A position which I now hold. As Chair of the PSC, we identified major risks to IOSH and our profession and have begun a programme of improvement. This includes improving mentoring standards and programme, promoting a student membership group or student level of IOSH membership, updating of IPD and peer reviews, as well as pushing the improvements to help IOSH members engage with CPD activity. This included acting as a member advisor in the development of Blueprint the IOSH personal development tool.
Some of them have years of experience in this field, how will they benefit from attending this training?
No one person can know it all, and the moment we cease to practice self-development and developing our knowledge is the time we cease to be effective safety practitioners. There are many changes occurring to safety practice and from attending conferences around the world it is apparent that many practitioners have good technical safety skills but lack the interpersonal skills to ensure their technical knowledge can be imparted effectively.
My attendance at international safety conferences and my research into practical leadership, learning from others new the practices and approaches that can be shared will allow attendees to develop the “People” skills required by practitioners. Feedback from previous events has highlighted the importance of how gaining new knowledge to take into workplaces makes effective positive differences.
Why is this training different from other regular training/courses available in the market?
This training is geared to easily adapted to suit individual requirements and is flexible in the approach to the topics delivered. Many personal case studies are delivered using the trainer’s experiences, successful ones to promote improvement, and also unsuccessful ones to prevent others from making the same errors.
The main feature is self-examination to learn about your own strengths and areas where development is required, using different approaches to do this.
What will be the key takeaways?
- Understanding how to prioritise improvements.
- Development of models to enable continuous improvement of organisations and individuals within organisations.
- Understanding of why and how to influence and motivate the workforce with different approaches.
- The use of others learning and how to adapt and implement new learning.
- A better understanding of self and others – using tried techniques to achieve this.