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In The Spotlight with Phil Bradley

18 June 2018

This month we put BSIF member Phil Bradley in the spotlight to share his thoughts on PPE and worker safety.

How did you get into the health and safety industry?
The last 70 years of Casella’s 200-year existence has been focused on manufacturing occupational health & safety instrumentation. Back in 2002, I was working in ambient air quality and emissions as a technical engineer both designing, supporting and servicing analyser based systems. Casella acquired the company and following this, I became responsible for its ambient air quality analyser design.  

Our parent company, Ideal Industries Inc, has learnt valuable lessons and business techniques in its 100-year history of family ownership and so we improved our business model, applying focus on selected markets and product. We focused on our core occupational health and safety product solutions, ensuring we understood the needs of our customers and value proposition. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?
All of it! I like a good challenge, and I’m a problem solver. This comes from my engineering roots, where there will always be a way to solve a problem. I also really enjoy working with the different people in the business and understanding how to get the best out of them. I’ve recognised the shift in workplace culture to a more relaxed office environment where progress is made at a truly phenomenal rate. We’ve embraced this, encouraging a relaxed dress code and even table tennis tournaments! This is a great way of removing departmental barriers, creating a real buzz and develops the best ideas. 

If you were a film character who would you be and why?
That would be John “Hannibal” Smith from The A Team because nothing pleases me more than seeing my team solve a seemingly impossible challenge. I can stand back and I say: “I love it when a plan comes together”. 

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the health and safety industry in the UK? 
The public understanding of the difference between health and safety and educating the current and future generations, particularly on the issue of health. The public rarely hear about deaths linked to workplace exposure, yet the HSE estimates 13,000 deaths a year are as a result of past exposure to chemicals and dust. The challenge going forward is to start treating health like safety. 

In your opinion, how can these challenges be overcome?
Through early education on the common factors that impact work place related ill health.

How do we attract more talented young people to the health and safety industry?
We must move away from the stereotypical image of ‘elf and safety’ and the jokes that come with it. The UK market needs further education that workplace health and safety encompasses a wide range of issues beyond slips trips and falls, including long latency illnesses such as silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), vibration white finger and noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). Long latency illness makes it imperative we educate at a much younger age, utilising technology to demonstrate how health monitoring and data collection can help protect people through measurement and assessment.

If you could be a fly on the wall at any historical event what would it be?
I’d like to go back to the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine in 1986 to understand the cause of the disaster, specifically human factors and decision making. On a lighter note, it would have to be the Williams Formula 1 garage in Hungary 1992 where Nigel Mansell became world F1 champion. 

What do you think the medium-term future holds for the health and safety industry globally?
Wearable technologies and the internet of things are much misused and to some extent, misunderstood terms. There is a place for such technology, and the next generation will readily adopt it, but it comes down to value proposition. Technology can’t exist for the sake of it- it must satisfy the need and provide a definable benefit to the user. This is an area I am following closely because technology will develop as we become more connected to our customers and understand how to provide smart solutions.

What health and safety issues are you most passionate about?
Noise, dust and vibration, which form Casella’s current core offerings. We must continue to develop new ways and advanced technology to manage these issues. At Casella we have a well-defined strategy that we are investing in for the future, and it’s very exciting.

Phil Bradley is general manager at Casella. For more information, visit www.casellasolutions.com