Most influential award “immensely powerful and emotional”

An IOSH chartered member has been named the ‘most influential person in health and safety’.

An IOSH chartered member who helped to secure a change in the UK law around mental health in the workplace has been named the ‘most influential person in health and safety’.

Karl Simons headed up the list of the profession’s most influential people, which was revealed at the Safety & Health Expo last week and also contains Prince William and Dame Judith Hackitt.

Speaking to IOSH, Karl, who is Chief Health, Safety and Security Officer at Thames Water, described the moment he discovered he was top of the list as “immensely powerful and emotional”.

He added: “There is no higher accolade than being recognised by your fellow professionals, so I am incredibly honoured by this, especially when there are a number of high-profile, public figures on the list.”

Karl has worked at Thames Water since 2012. During this time, he has implemented a number of health and safety initiatives, including ‘Time to Talk’, which was designed to manage mental health. In the past five years, Thames Water’s work-related illness absence has been reduced by 75 per cent.

He has also played a leading role in calling on the UK Government to change the law to protect people’s mental health in the workplace.

Overall, he has worked in occupational health and safety for 18 years, having previously served in the Armed Forces.

Prince William was also named in the influential list, voted for by readers of Safety & Health Practitioner, having launched Mental Health at Work, an online gateway to help companies improve staff wellbeing.

While Dame Judith Hackitt was included for her work on leading the independent review of building regulations and fire safety, as was Simon Bliss, MD of Principal People, for launching the Safety4Good campaign to promote the efforts of health and safety professionals.

The remaining people on the list (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Heather Beach, MD, The Healthy Work Company
  • Martin Coyd OBE, Head of Health and Safety – Construction, Mace Group
  • Ruth Denyer, Group Operational Risk Director, ITV
  • Dr Judith Grant, Director of Health and Wellbeing, Mace
  • Steve Hails, Health and Safety Director, Tideway
  • Dylan Roberts, Skanska, Co-Chair of the Health in Construction Leadership Group

You can hear from Karl Simons at IOSH 2019, at the ICC Birmingham from 16-17 September. He will be leading a breakfast panel debate exploring how providing opportunities for disruptive thinking around risk areas can help create high-performing teams.

Marcus Boocock
Communications Officer +44 (0)116 257 3139
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