Richard Brookes

Spotlight on a Broadcasting and Telecommunications Group committee member

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How did you become part of the BTG committee?

As I became Head of Health and Safety at Virgin Media, it was the natural step to fill the committee role that had been held by my predecessor.

What benefits do you feel that the BTG brings for you?

The opportunity to engage with colleagues from across wider industry. Also to share ideas and influence each other.

What do you do in your “day job”?

I support a fast paced, ever changing, growth focused organisation with a Zero Harm Vision that places safety as a core value into everything that we do. I hope that I am helping to create a solution focused and learning culture that moves safety back into a values and ethically based space. I also support a passionate team of safety professionals.

How would you describe the way you do your role – in 5 words?

Our people are the solution.

What do you find the most interesting part of your role?

I haven’t been in post for long, but ‘people’. I get to engage with both senior leaders and our frontline teams. It’s our frontline people who can provide solutions to problems in the work that happens everyday. We just have to engage and listen.

What part of your role presents the most challenges?

Challenging long held established ways of working that see punishment as the only way to modify the way that people behave. Negative reinforcement does not drive sustainable behaviour changes. It’s a constant influencing challenge to change people’s thinking to a positive reinforced approach.

What’s your health and safety “soap box” subject?

It’s the image and profile of the profession that has been influenced by ridiculous and over burdensome controls to manage insignificant risks. This has damaged society’s view of what safety means and the benefits its delivered in reducing work related deaths, injuries and ill health. We all need to get better at actively challenging these situations and start celebrating successes.

What is your one piece of advice for any safety professional?

Our business is ‘People’. Keeping people safe is ultimately ‘why’ we do ‘what’ we do. The ‘how’ we do it is through building relationships, engaging, listening and understanding.