At Acorn Safety Services we are proud to provide outstanding health and safety consultancy support to our clients in the construction industry and across all small business sectors.
We provide a UK-wide service from our offices in Northampton and London and from our new base in Birmingham which we opened last year to cope with an ever-growing demand from clients for our support.
Our growth has also led to our team expanding and we were thrilled to recently welcome Jo Doherty who has joined us as a Health and Safety Consultant.
Jo is highly qualified and has more than a decade of experience of working in the health and safety industry for several high-profile organisations, including major builders and councils.
Since joining us Jo has been travelling the length and breadth of the country getting to know our diverse range of clients, but we managed to catch up with her to find out how she got involved in the industry.
When did you join Acorn Safety Services?
I had a really positive meeting with Acorn last year but then Covid-19 hit. I was allowed to fly to Spain to see my parents who live over there but once I was there it was impossible to get a flight back and I ended up staying in Spain for three months.
When I returned to the UK in March I got in touch with Acorn to see if they were recruiting and I was thrilled when they asked me to join the team. With the pandemic, it was a longer journey to get here than I was expecting but I was over the moon when I finally started working here last month.
What were you doing before you joined Acorn?
I’ve had an interesting career. I started out going to art college and trained to be an advertising copywriter – I actually went to the same university that Freddie Mercury attended!
I then got a part-time job in a pub and decided I wanted to move my career in that direction and run pubs. I did that for 15 years – working at different pubs around the country.
Whilst I was in the pub trade I went on my first Health and Safety training course and that’s when everything changed for me. They showed us footage of the 1985 Bradford City stadium fire that killed more than 50 spectators and injured hundreds more and I knew that I wanted to work in an industry that stopped terrible things like that from happening. So, I started looking into Health and Safety as a career and began studying for various qualifications.
I worked in the industry for several years for several large construction firms and local authorities before I joined Acorn Safety Services.
Why did you want to join Acorn Safety Services?
There’s a close-knit team at Acorn Safety Services and the processes here are very streamlined which means we can deliver results quickly and efficiently for our clients and that really appealed to me. Sometimes in larger companies, you find there are delays in getting things done for clients because it takes a long time for decisions to go through the various levels of hierarchy.
What have you done with Acorn Safety Services since you joined?
Since joining the firm I’ve been travelling all over the country getting to know our clients. I’ve been busy inspecting various sites all over the UK for our clients – from construction sites to office blocks and warehouses. I really enjoy building up relationships with clients and getting to know their businesses.
I’m also excited about the links we have to our sister company Acorn Analytical Services, which is an independent asbestos consultancy. We’ve been doing inspections for some of the companies that Acorn Analytical Services works with which I’m really enjoying as it’s expanding my knowledge about asbestos too.
Looking ahead I’m also keen to do a fire inspection course to boost my skills even further.
How do you make a difference to your clients?
At Acorn Safety Services we can help clients with all their Health and Safety needs. For me personally, the thing I’m most passionate about is Behavioural Safety. This is all about the operatives on the ground taking responsibility for their own health and safety. I always promote this whenever I work with clients because it makes such a huge difference. It’s wonderful when you get through to people and you see something click with them for the first time about how they can make a positive difference to the health and safety at their workplace.
When I work with operatives on construction sites, I’ll ask them to imagine how they would feel if they saw a loved one walking through their site. Would they have any concerns? It makes them look at the site with fresh eyes and helps them to see for themselves any issues that need addressing. It really changes people’s attitudes. We work with businesses to make sure that knowledge filters through their teams. You often find once operatives start thinking this way, they’re very keen to share it with their colleagues. The best part is returning to see the client a month or so down the line because you can see the positive changes that have taken place.
How have you settled into the team?
Normally I’m out on site visiting clients but I tend to spend a day a week in the office. When you spend a lot of time out on site it’s great to have the chance to be able to catch up with colleagues in the office and everyone has made me very welcome.
How do you see your career developing with Acorn Safety Services?
I have a lot of experience of working with various clients who I know would benefit from the incredible support we offer so long-term I’m looking forward to helping Acorn Safety Services attract even more clients.
Do you have any particular interests outside of work?
My main interests are travel and live music – both of which have been restricted by the pandemic. I’m looking forward to the time when I can start travelling and attending concerts again.