In the spotlight with Nigel Stubbs

16 January 2019

This month we put Nigel Stubbs in the spotlight to find out how a career change led him into the evolving health and safety industry.

How did you get into the health and safety industry?

I’m a relative newcomer to the health and safety industry, having spent a large proportion of my career working in manufacturing and service led industries. Family and friends of mine have been involved in health and safety, working for companies like Able Safety (Yorkshire) Ltd & Resmar Ltd, so I had an awareness of the industry. In 2010, my father, Roger Stubbs, Robert Barcoe (managing director of Resmar Ltd) and I took the opportunity to acquire the safety division of Ace Safety, which specialised in the hire, service and supply of confined space safety equipment. It was decided that I was best placed to manage what was to become Able Safety, due to my career experience. Able Safety encompasses all aspects of fall arrest & rescue equipment, gas detection, breathing apparatus and emergency escape apparatus and this was where my journey within the industry started.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Like any role within the industry I would have to say it’s the fact that no two days are the same. As the products we supply have so many different applications and the businesses that use them are so varied, from pharmaceutical, mining, energy & utilities, chemical, food and beverage, to name a few, knowing everyday can be completely different is a challenge that really does put a spring in your step (well, most days!). I am very fortunate to work alongside colleagues that I trust and together we have built a good working relationship with our customers, manufacturers and suppliers, which helps hugely. I personally find dealing with people the most enjoyable part of the job and knowing what we are doing is helping someone stay safe really does make you feel part of something quite special.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the health and safety industry in the UK?

As the health and safety industry is constantly evolving, one of the biggest challenges we face as an industry is ensuring the right people, have the right information, at the right time. There is now a huge resource of information out there, but quite often people can become overwhelmed and aren’t sure what is and isn’t relevant for their requirements, and quite often get lost and confused.

How do you think these challenges can be overcome?

In my opinion this is where companies like Able Safety can help. We can support our customers with targeted advice and guidance, teaming this with us being involved in working groups led by the BSIF, which bring together liked minded individuals. This places us in the perfect position to share our experiences and knowledge from all aspects of the industry.

What sets Able Safety apart from its competitors?

What sets Able Safety apart is always a good question, that we get asked a lot. Our ability to have an independent view on products within the market, no matter if you need only one gas monitor or a full rescue kit, is something our customers value. Using our experience within fall arrest, gas detection and breathing apparatus, we are committed to ensuring our customers’ needs are met in the most efficient and cost-effective way. Offering a hire service for all the equipment we supply is a big help, no matter if you require a tripod and fall arrest retrieval winch for a day or a year, we will accommodate all requests and help where we can. In cases where we don’t know the answer, we know we can reach out to our extensive network of contacts and find the right solution for you. At Able Safety we are a big believer in the value of knowledge sharing and sharing our expertise is what adds value to our services, we are happy to discuss all options with our customers and I believe this is what keeps our customers returning.

What are you most memorable successes at Able Safety?

Being a relative newcomer to the industry this is quite a difficult question to answer but being an active member within the BSIF working groups is something I am proud of, mainly because I am contributing to the wider industry, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to both share my own experiences but to learn from others. Within Able, we work alongside some great companies, ranging from some of the world’s biggest breweries, distilleries, to utilities and maintenance companies, all of which are using our services, some of these companies we have been able to grow alongside. My most memorable success must be Able Safety itself and knowing that we are keeping people safe at work, so they can return home safely to their families is the biggest success.

What’s next in the product pipeline for Able Safety?

With us being a supplier of goods to the industry we do get excited when new products come to market, especially when they have that extra bit of technology that makes everyone talk. We always like it when manufacturers ask us for feedback on their products, as knowing we are part of the bigger picture that is making products the safest and best they can be is rewarding. We have just become a distributor and service centre for Globestock Ltd which moving into 2019 is a good way to start the year, putting the Globestock products on our extensive hire fleet and being associated with manufacturers and suppliers such as Resmar Ltd, Abtech Safety, Ridgegear, Crowcon, GMI, Draeger and 3m/Scott Safety to name a few, will give our customers the right choice and provide them with the right equipment for any job they have.

What’s your vision for the future of Able Safety?

My vision is to continue to improve on what we have already achieved within the last 8 years and that includes continuing to offer the support and service our customers deserve. We know what we provide can save lives and we have very high standards which we aim to continually improve. We are proud of what we do, and I hope to continue that into our future.

What do you think medium-term future holds for the safety industry globally?

The biggest event that is likely to impact the future of not only our industry, but every industry is the elephant in the room, Brexit. I believe that regardless of what happens the industry itself will ensure it is protected, because ultimately, it’s about keeping us all safe. I’m confident that the UK is committed to maintaining the high health and safety standards we have, and by working with the association like the BSIF means we can have an input into being able to continue to provide safe working environments for generations to come.

What health and safety issues are you most passionate about?

For me, its making sure the equipment we supply is the right product, for the right job. Far too many times we see people using either the wrong equipment or in the most extreme cases nothing at all. Changing the attitudes of “I’ve never had an incident, so why do I need to have it” is a big adjustment we need to make. We tell anyone that contacts us, that if they are in any doubt, to just ask us, asking questions never injured anyone and its free! We are here to help!

How can we entice more young talent to work in the health and safety sector?

Educating young people to understand that health and safety applies to every aspect of your life and isn’t just confined to the work place is one way to help them understand the sector. It’s also about the right people having the right knowledge at the right time, often the health and safety industry can be overwhelming for anyone let alone for a young person, and perhaps through encouraging our industry to get involved with activities away from our day to day roles to support our schools and communities would also help engage young talent. 

Nigel Stubbs is director of Able Safety Solutions Ltd. For more information, visit

Tel: 0161 336 4195