Meet Mick Leatherbarrow, Vernacare’s new Safety, Health & Environment Officer…
Can you introduce yourself and explain your role at Vernacare.
My name is Mick Leatherbarrow, and I am the Safety, Health and Environment Officer. Since starting my role in December, I have been developing health and safety management systems for use across our business. You might have seen me around the office and the factory carrying out proactive inspections, trying to find potential hazards before anyone gets hurt. I will also be doing plenty of fire and noise assessments in the future to make sure we are complying with Health and Safety legislation and that staff are properly equipped to do their jobs safely.
Where were you working before you came to Vernacare?
I previously worked at Burnley College for 2 ½ years. Before that, I worked in factories across the country and in Northern Ireland doing health and safety assessments and training.
What is a typical day like for you?
I usually start my day with a tour of the factory, discussing any health and safety issues that anyone might have raised, as well as speaking to colleagues and making sure everything is running smoothly. I will spend some time in my office looking at setting up management systems and documenting any health and safety inspection results. I have spent a considerable amount of time since I joined looking over health and safety policies and trying to sort out a more organised filing system. I also investigate accidents and near misses when they occur in either the office or the factory. As part of my role, I have just started doing induction training with new colleagues, and I will be looking to develop the induction programme in the near future.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I think it is that every day is different. I also really enjoy speaking with people, and collaboratively solving problems and coming up with workable solutions.
What are the challenges?
In my past workplaces, some people have had a negative attitude towards health and safety. I think you overcome that by looking at the positive impact that health and safety can bring to an organisation and also how education can empower its staff. For example, highlighting positive aspects of health and safety such as having a clear and accessible fire escape, and not just concentrating on negative aspects like water spillages.
At Vernacare, I think the challenges are going to be around coordinating our approaches to health and safety across both the Bolton and Chorley sites and making sure we have the same systems and processes in place across both sites.
What is the most important thing for you to be successful in your role?
For me to be able to do my job well, people to come and talk to me about health and safety. I do my best to be approachable with colleagues. I am here to help and not to get anybody into trouble!
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I am a School Governor at a primary school in Darwen and I have had that role for 7 years. I get involved in the running of the school. I have stayed on there even though my daughter who used to attend the school has since moved on!