In the spotlight with Andy Mee
09 November 2020
This month we put Andy Mee in the spotlight to find out about his route into the health and safety industry, his career highlights and why he believes data and analysis are key for the health and safety industry.
How did you get into health and safety?
Originally I worked in the housing sector, specialising in land procurement for a house building company; when the housing market collapsed in 2007/2008, I, like many others, had to diversify into other areas. Fortunately, I had a background in civil engineering and that practical approach allowed me to work in a consultancy who were looking for young engineers to develop… the rest is history as they say.
Most people know you from your HAVi days. So, what are you doing now?
I felt like I needed a change for a while and I used lockdown as the opportunity to develop something different; I'd been at HAVi for over 12 years, and we've built a great business, fantastic ethics and applied the latest state of the art technology.
Now I'm still working with HAVi as one of their ambassadors, and I will continue to help develop the product range further.
Away from that, I've set up Baloo Health Ltd which are a noise and vibration Consultancy working in partnership with ASL Consultancy Ltd where we've partnered up to deliver practical compliance with expert regulatory advice from ex HSE specialist Inspectors such as Stuart McGregor and Dr Sarah Haynes.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Well, I basically solve problems for companies trying to manage noise and hand-arm vibration. I'm still involved in HAVi whom I was part of the founding team, and our whole principle that we worked to was making complicated issues simple. I get the most reward of seeing an organisation that has improved managing these issues following on from my input and that they've found this process simple to achieve.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing health and safety currently?
I don't think there is enough space here, but I'll have a go. Training and the current limitations that are in place make its effectiveness of this very difficult. There are also so many different pieces of safety equipment and tools used in industry that tailored training is required i.e. picking and selecting the right PPE in line with the risks presented. Personally, coming from a product background, I know how certain products fit certain scenarios in order to meet compliance. There are so many product / subject specialists the challenge is bringing them all together.
How do you think these challenges can be overcome?
To address these training issues faced by industry our next major projects are on Training. We’ve never had such an opportunity for changes to the training sector and find fresh and new ways to do things differently, training is one of those areas that was typical ly quite an expensive thing and would be generalised into subjects; however with the onset of Zoom and Teams and their growth over the summer I believe the industry will accept more blended efficient learning; online, one to one zoom chats, all in all, a more involved learning process making the most out of the current technology available to us; the key benefit is we can merge the general safety training with product specific training.
One of the key things we've been developing is our new TILI (Training Instruction Learning and Information) Safe System. Its an eLearning platform that's built specifically around a users needs right down to the type PPE and the specific safety products they're using.
What sets what you are doing apart from others?
By not trying to achieve something that exists already; what we do is create things that don't exist yet and that there is simply a gap in the market, a space that might not be being filled at the moment. It doesn't mean some new technology – it means making it affordable, making it simple and making sure it's effective.
What is your most memorable success?
My biggest success was delivered with the team at HAVi; we would always be asked for tool data, i.e. vibration magnitudes. We thought, why can't we use all the data that we currently have – anonymise it and give it to people to better make their judgements on tool procurement? So we created the Tool Advisor, which is the largest tool database in the world with real-life data; we even won a highly commended for the work at the BSIF awards. This is still free to this day and the data is constantly being updated.
What is next in the pipeline for you?
TiliPro will be our next development; this will link with thetooladvisor.com database and offer training on specific tools and equipment that are in use daily. Importantly it will use the same technology as the TiliSafe so as we can ensure a fully integrated system.
What is your future vision for health and safety globally?
Integrated systems that interact with each other providing more data; better analysis; better systems… I think the future is good so long as we all work together.
How can we entice more people into the health and safety sector?
We don't necessarily need more people in this sector; I think there is still lots of work to be done convincing people about the benefits of health and safety. Each individual that works within an organisation should want to be part of our sector. In my experience, the best organisations at managing health and safety are the ones who have achieved engagement from the workforce, so I'd like to see more people from "trades" have one foot in this sector and one in there's really acting as ambassadors for safety. How do we entice them? Better training; engagement….
What health and safety issues are you most passionate about?
Health, health and health; its something that I continually think about. For me going to work in the morning you should come home safe but you should also at no point have your health compromised. I think everyone agrees with that sentiment but in reality it’s a difficult message to get across. I feel that health in most cases is long latency, meaning individuals won’t experience the effects of the health until later in life when its too late.
What makes me passionate is that every time I place a system in, educate an operator or even find a solution. That person doesn’t know it yet but I’ve actually given them a healthier future. Knowing this makes me incredibly proud.
Andy Mee is technical consultant at Baloo Health Ltd. For more information, visit www.baloohealth.com