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5 Minutes With… Louise Perryman, Mirashare

In the latest instalment of our health & safety industry executive interview series, we spoke to Mirashare Director Louise Perryman (pictured) about her company, the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, the opportunity for technology & software and the importance of data…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

The early years were mainly spent developing health & safety software for the Manufacturing and Research divisions of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in Sandwich, Kent, who continue to be a major client.  Over time we grew our customer base and redesigned the Mirashare EHS system as a cloud-based product, ideally suited to larger organisations in hazardous industries. 

Twenty one years on we have Mirashare customers in sectors including life sciences, food, facilities services, construction and energy. In addition, our online learning platform Learnbubble offers a complementary product for building H&S and related induction courses and provides online training for users of Mirashare to facilitate implementation. 

Our customers tell us that the main drivers for choosing and staying long term with Mirashare are that it is easy to use at operational and management level, is reliable and has great real-time reporting and charting options across the board. By analysing and acting quickly upon the data gathered (using the Mobile App for hazard reporting for example), accidents can potentially be avoided, lost time reduced and an organisation’s good reputation maintained.  The Mirashare service currently offers a choice of 14 different modules, the most popular being Incident Management, Action Tracking, Risk Assessment and Audit/Inspection.

What have been the biggest challenges the Health & Safety industry has faced over the past 12 months?

Covid-19 has presented a tremendous challenge, putting H&S right in the front line. Practitioners know that their instructions to implement appropriate measures in the various work environments will help save lives on a scale they are unlikely to have encountered before. This is quite a heavy load to bear. If everyone can be set up with systems to work safely from home that helps.  However, many sectors need their employees to be at their normal place of work, particularly higher risk industries such as manufacturing, construction and waste management. 

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

Ironically Covid-19 has also presented opportunities in that it has raised the profile of H&S. From a software provider’s point of view I would say that some organisations that have managed with a few forms and an excel spreadsheet are now looking to adopt affordable software designed to help them do their jobs more effectively through  things like mobile data capture, instant trend analysis  and tracking  of actions to make sure issues are fixed fast. 

What is the biggest priority for the Health & Safety industry in 2021?

Same as always – keep people as safe as you can. Continuous improvement is a term that’s been around for a long time but it’s one I believe in. Covid-19 will continue to dominate as everyone struggles to keep up with legislation changes, meaning that online systems which facilitate speedy Risk Assessment version release and dissemination are valuable assets. 

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2021?

More lone working with emphasis on the individual. More use of internet enabled mobile systems to handle updates ‘in the field’. 

Then at the other extreme, for the large organisations ever greater integration of data across the piece, including increased links to HR and issues around mental health. 

What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this coming year?

Probably still Mobile tech.

In 2022 we’ll all be talking about…?

More robotics in high risk situations and to assist with rescue.

More use of AI for monitoring and to assist with decision making. 

Increasing use of virtual 3D learning. 

Which person in, or associated with, the Health & Safety industry would you most like to meet?

Dr Andrew Sharman, President of IOSH until a few days ago.

I attended a Health and Safety seminar in Amsterdam a few years ago, with which he was closely involved.  

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the Health & Safety sector?

That it’s not boring, it’s about saving lives and the environment.  Its serious stuff that needs to be done right. 

You go to the bar at the Occupational Safety & Health Forum – what’s your tipple of choice?

Depends on my mood, but if cocktails are on offer, definitely a mojito.

What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?

Reading thank you emails and comments sent to the staff who have helped customers implement and support our systems. 

AND the fact that every day is different.  

And what’s the most challenging?

Choosing the right priorities

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

‘A stitch in time saves nine’, from my grandmother. Catch it early   – that’s why I’m so keen on our mobile hazard reporting App. 

www.mirashare.com

5 Minutes With… Alex Wilkins, iHASCO

For the first instalment of our health & safety industry executive interview series, we spoke to Alex Wilkins, Head of Training & Development at iHASCO, about his company, industry opportunities, the challenges posed by COVID-19, new technology and why Stranger Things is better than Succession…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

We are iHASCO – a market leading provider of online Health & Safety, HR, and Compliance eLearning. We make training simple.

Providing over 10,000 organisations across the UK and globally with our training, we have also delivered over 5,500,000 sessions to date!

With approvals from the likes of IOSH, RoSPA, Skills for Care, IIRSM, and accreditation from CPD, we are confident that we offer each and every one of our users the highest quality training available.

What have been the biggest challenges the Health & Safety industry has faced over the past 12 months?

Undoubtedly the COVID-19 pandemic has been the biggest challenge. In fact, it’s arguably the biggest challenge over the last century.

It’s up to OSH professionals and employers to ensure that their staff are kept informed on up-to-date guidance and that they understand how to lower the risk of infection whilst at work.

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

To break the negative stigma surrounding Health & Safety, which the public often perceive as “a waste of time”. The current climate has given all OSH professionals a chance to prove the importance of the industry.

What is the biggest priority for the Health & Safety industry in 2020?

There have been many, but we think it comes down to three key points: getting people to adhere to COVID-19 guidance, looking after employee’s mental health, and sourcing PPE.

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2021?

An increased focus on mental wellbeing in the workplace. Studies suggest that for every £1 a workplace invests in it’s employees mental wellbeing, they see an average of a £4.20 return. Not only is it morally right to invest in employee wellbeing, but it often makes sense from a business perspective!

In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?

Our eLearning. That’s our goal, at least!

Which person in, or associated with, the Health & Safety industry would you most like to meet?

Geoff McDonald – A global advocate for Mental Wellbeing in the workplace.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the Health & Safety sector?

Whilst it can look extremely complicated on the surface, it really isn’t, especially when you get your staff to appreciate its importance and they have an understanding of their duties under current legislation.

You go to the bar at the Occupational Safety & Health Forum – what’s your tipple of choice?

Something that matches our brand values, so it would have to be best cost-effective, user-friendly, and simple! It sounds a bit like an ice-cold beer!

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

Having a positive impact on the safety and wellbeing of employees all over the world.

And what’s the most challenging?

Breaking the negative stigma surrounding the health & safety and eLearning industry.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

To always try and make a genuine difference.

Succession or Stranger Things?

Stranger Things, 100%!

5 Minutes With… Craig Lydiate, Eighty20 Risk Systems

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.