Hello, I’m Clare Read and I work as DIO’s Assistant Head of Health and Safety. The health and safety team has wide-ranging responsibilities but ultimately we’re here to help – health and safety is essentially ensuring you get home at the end of the day safely and that your work activities have not affected you in any way.
I started my career working in process engineering for a water utility, but moved into health and safety 15 years ago and joined DIO, then Defence Estates, in 2007. My favourite aspect of working in this field is the variety – one day I could be on a construction site dealing with bricks and mortar and the next I could be talking to someone about a health and safety issue in the office. Staff can contact any of the health and safety team at any time to discuss any issues or questions they may have, as getting us involved early can prevent problems later!
Support and guidance
The health and safety team provides support and guidance to all staff, both in the UK and at our DIO sites in Germany, Gibraltar, Cyprus and the South Atlantic. Our responsibilities include inspections on building sites to ensure people are complying with safety legislation, such as working at height or Control of Asbestos regulations, as well as following visible safety rules like wearing helmets and high-visibility jackets. The Health and Safety team also ensure that buildings constructed for use by the Armed Forces are constructed in a safe manner and are safe to maintain.
Much of this is working with the contractor, of course, ensuring our construction and maintenance activities are safe. We also conduct inspections of all DIO assets and deal with the occupational health and well-being of DIO staff. This can include anything from helping individuals with specific health concerns and supporting those returning to work after a period of illness to checking the suitability of staff’s display screen equipment.
We also advise on health and safety aspects of the tendering process for new contracts and provide guidance for colleagues on the interpretation of health and safety legislation. More rarely, we deal with incident investigations. Training is another important aspect of our work and we will shortly be delivering update training on health and safety matters to DIO staff. As you can see, many staff are likely to come into contact with the health and safety team at some point during their working day at DIO.
DIO’s new Operating Model, which went live in April, has been a huge milestone for us as it’s brought all DIO’s health and safety staff together in one team. Previously, we were all working in different service delivery areas but, as a result of the new Operating Model, there is now greater cohesion. This means we’re able to deliver a single message across the organisation, which can only improve how we support DIO’s business objectives.
There will soon be a total of 28 members of the health and safety team as we are currently recruiting to new posts. You can find out more about career opportunities here.
Our work in the health and safety team is crucial and very wide-ranging. It impacts on all aspects of DIO’s operations – perhaps that’s why I enjoy it so much!