For the latest instalment of our health & safety industry executive interview series we spoke to Craig Lydiate (pictured), Managing Director at Eighty20 Risk Systems, about his company, industry opportunities, challenges, new technology and the best TV box sets…
Tell us about your company, products and services.
Eighty20 Risk Systems is a web-based H&S Software supplier, providing our award winning E20 platform to all sectors of the economy, from manufacturing and construction firms to housing groups and charitable bodies.
What have been the biggest challenges the Health & Safety industry has faced over the past 12 months?
At the risk of being obvious, clearly COVID-19 has caused seismic changes to all parts of the economy and supply chain and I suspect will remain so for at least 24 months.
And what have been the biggest opportunities?
When the budget is tight it becomes all the more important to focus on where value is either added or lost. We are called Eighty20 for a reason, it has been the driving rationale of the business to ensure clients focus on what matters (the 20) and not waste time on the irrelevant (the 80). Helping clients remain focussed on the correct things remains a key focus, now maybe more than ever.
What is the biggest priority for the Health & Safety industry in 2020?
To understand something that the industry has grappled with for a long time, with varying degrees of success; that is to realise this is a people business. Without involvement and engagement then H&S will remain a marginalised profession. There have been huge shifts in the past decade, but it needs to be grasped now as a matter of priority.
What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2021?
In line with the above comments, then the realisation that the whole person comes to work and that the mental health of employees is probably just as important as their physical well-being. In fact, the phrase “Well-Being” is one we would like to see gain far more traction than “Health and Safety”. We may be getting better year on year with the Safety part, but we remain unconvinced that the Health part is keeping up. We think more Well-Being focussed initiatives will come to the fore. In difficult times it becomes far more important to retain valuable staff, not less so.
What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this coming year?
More use of mobile tech to monitor, on a personal level the general workday of the people we employ. This might sound “big brother”, but is not intended to: rather a more accurate picture of the realistic general risk exposure of our people, from work hours, locations and distances, in addition to the obvious COVID potentials.
In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?
“Can you remember what your original plans were for 2020?”
Which person in, or associated with, the Health & Safety industry would you most like to meet?
Probably Ken Woodward – I have been citing his case and situation for a very long time and would like to hear comments from his own mouth.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the Health & Safety sector?
How much more work there is to be done to give the sector the same corporate clout as other functions such as manufacturing, sales and HR. Don’t get me wrong, I think the sector has brought the current situation upon itself by not being a mainstream function for many commercial enterprises for far too long. We see this changing, but it needs to do so much faster.
You go to the bar at the Occupational Safety & Health Forum – what’s your tipple of choice?
A nice robust new world red wine. Always!
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
Working with clients who initially begrudge the initial spend on H&S and by the end of the engagement they think of you as having added huge value to the business. Quite simply, nothing like it!
And what’s the most challenging?
Making traditional industries change how they view risk (and not simply saying they do) and understand that Return on Investment does not only apply to the marketing budget!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
An American senior manager when I reported out of the States once said: “Don’t sweat the small stuff… and never forget it’s all small stuff”. I don’t always succeed, but do try to apply this mantra.
Succession or Stranger Things?
Succession… all day.