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How the Humber Bank has provided the ultimate grounding for world-leading safety group’s president

SOUTH Humber bank industry has provided the ultimate grounding for the new figurehead of the world’s leading health and safety body.

How the Humber Bank has provided the ultimate grounding for world-leading safety group’s president

Craig Foyle has just become president of the globally-active Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, and experience gleaned from the area’s vital sectors have helped put him at the forefront of an organisation that campaigns on issues that affect millions of working people.

The voice of the profession, he will lead nearly 50,000 members, and has made getting his message across that occupational health and safety “makes good business sense” an absolute priority.

It is a highlight in a career that’s sseen him work with some of the biggest names in food, chemicals and other process industries, having worked for Jex Engineering for more than a decade.

Now he is director of his own consultancy, Foyle Safety & Management, working from his New Waltham home and continuing to serve the biggest operators in the region and beyond.

Stating it was an “honour and a privilege” to take up the role, he said: “It is a big challenge, but my message is that it really does make business sense. We need to break down barriers of safety being seen as stopping jobs and planning safety and health in at an early stage so it helps make it happen.

“That is what I used to do with Jex, it was about changing the process. If you cannot function, you cannot produce, you cannot manufacture. It is the understanding of that, not just safety practitioners, but senior leaders; getting managers to think about safety, and not just negative, reactive stories.

“If you build it in as part of an organisation, it makes the safety manager’s job much easier as they have the support.”
Of his career, which now sees him lecture on health and safety management at the University of Hull as well as provide project safety management, training and interim management consultancy support, he said:

“The Humber bank was just a fantastic learning ground for me, working on food, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. It was an ideal opportunity to experience different industries. Some issues are shared and some unique, it was a great opportunity.

“If I look at where I am now – and I have been on my own since 2009 – I work for many of the same clients Jex did. I do a lot of work for Lenzing Fibers, and Cristal.”

McCain and Nestle are other major names he works with as he becomes the 51st president of IOSH, from where nearly 200,000 people take training courses annually. He will travel the world to continue the drive to make workplaces safe and healthy, a role he is used to. Recently, with Lenzing, he has delivered leadership training in Austria, Indonesia, China and the Czech Republic.

“It is a voluntary role but for a safety practitioner to be able to do this it is an honour and a privilege to be able to fulfil it,” he said. “In terms of time commitment, I understood what it was before I took it on, and made it clear to IOSH it will be a team approach.”

That team includes a president-elect in Hong Kong, with six vice presidents too, including four in the UK, one of whom is Michelle Muxworthy, who is based in Brigg, and previously worked for Novartis.

It also comes as IOSH embarks on delivering a five-year strategy, WORK 2022, which aims to ensure that the profession keeps pace with the changing world of business.

He said: “I am immensely proud to represent my professional body as president at this exciting and pivotal time,” he said. “Across the world, businesses are increasingly seeing the benefit of good health and safety management. Having a safe and healthy workforce brings huge benefits.

“To drive IOSH forward, we need to work together as one team – members, volunteers and staff. I want us to engage with all our stakeholders – members, business, trade associations, governments and other interested parties – to make everyone realise that health and safety makes sense.”

A chartered fellow of IOSH, he has served on its council since 2011. Mr Foyle’s first full-time safety role was with Jex, having previously been commercial manager for Newglaze. “I did my first safety standards there, that is where I really got the bug to take it further,” he said, adding how he even chaired the safety committee at his first employer, Solarglass, putting it down to “youthful enthusiasm”.

He was confirmed as president at the recent annual meeting in Birmingham, which followed IOSH 2017, the body’s two-day annual international conference.

“Being involved at various levels has enabled me to understand issues affecting the Institution and members as a whole,” he said. “I have also realised how important it is for everyone to work together to achieve the desired goals.
 “We are, of course, all working towards the same goal of making the world of work safe and healthy so I am really looking forward to seeing how much we can achieve together as a team over the next year.”

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