Focus on John Crockett – Acorn Safety Services’ Health and Safety Manager

John Crockett is Acorn Safety Services’ health and safety manager. He has worked in the Health and Safety industry for about 30 years. Prior to that he had been a project manager and a fitter for various construction companies so in total he has worked in the construction industry for around 45 years.

In this blog, John reveals how he got started in his career and the changes he has seen in the industry over the years.

How did your career begin?

My uncle ran a construction firm and I was looking to improve my life. He told me if I went to work for him my wage would rise from £8 a week to £10 a day. I was about 17 and that was a lot of money then. Initially, I worked in the fitting side of things and then moved into project management.

In the mid-1990s I worked on a project for a company and it came to an end and I had the option to join a department as M & E PM or another department as a CDM Planning Supervisor – they offered to train me so I jumped at the chance to be a CDM Planning Supervisor.

I moved into health and safety because I’ve always been fascinated with investigations. I like to find out what’s going on, why things have happened and how we can improve upon them.

How have things changed since you entered the industry?

People’s attitudes to health and safety have changed a lot. It used to be that people wanted to see what they could get away with quickly and cheaply whereas nowadays they are more concerned that people are okay. It’s important that this message comes from the top of firms though and that people are aware of their roles and responsibilities.

What health and safety issues do clients face?

Clients are understandably focussed on their own business and as a result they are not always aware of the health and safety issues they face so it is down to firms like Acorn Safety Services to help them realise what their responsibilities are.

Under the old Construction (Design and Management) regulations (CDM), the client was basically the money man. Under the current CDM regulations, the client has to take on the responsibility of the project and appoint dutyholder role of Principal Designer and become the duty holder themselves. They have to make sure health and safety issues are managed properly.

Other duty holders specified within the regulations include the principal contractor. This person is employed on projects where there are two or more contractors and this arrangement needs to be made in writing or the client accepts responsibility by default.

What projects fall within the Construction (Design and Management) regulations?

All construction projects fall within the CDM regulations – even changing a washer or satellite dish. If you are a domestic client, you have the chance to appoint someone. The architect may be responsible but if the job doesn’t start for a year their duty falls away and the contractor takes the client’s duties onboard under Regulation 7 and becomes the principal contractor / contractor.

Are people taking more notice of the regulations?

Things are improving but the situation is still not good and too many clients are still not aware of their responsibilities.

I do refresher courses and even architects are surprised by some of the things I tell them they should be doing to be compliant. Designers must be aware of hazards and identify how they are going to control or eliminate them. This information should be recorded and passed on to the contractors so they are aware and they can price the project properly.

What is one of the biggest challenges in the industry?

Clients don’t normally contact health and safety experts until something happens. If an accident happens they will bring an external consultant in to record it and say what can be done about it.

Clients need to be more proactive and get health and safety experts involved in their projects at the beginning. If we are employed in the first place, we understand the project and the client can take our lead on what to do. If they don’t get in touch with us until a problem has arisen they end up paying for an investigation, costs for remedial works and they may have lost time on their project and earned themselves a bad reputation. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) records its findings online – you can look at anything.

What’s the most important thing a client should do?

The business owner, directors and management team should be familiar with the company’s health and safety policy and the current regulations. Alternatively, they should employ an internal person or an external consultant to do this for them. It’s best to hire an external consultant because you can use them when you need them and they can advise you appropriately. They can look at what the business does, make sure the correct risk assessments are in place and review any changes in legislation and technology which may mean the firm needs to change its processes.

What is the best thing you have seen in relation to health and safety?

It’s very simple but one of the best things is in the onsite welfare toilets – there are always mirrors which sometimes have written on them: ‘You are looking at the person responsible for your safety.’ It’s so important that everyone takes responsibility for their own safety. You have control over your own safety. If you think something isn’t right, tell someone.

Is there a difference between the big construction sites and the smaller ones when it comes to highlighting hazards?

Big construction companies tend to be better at drumming it in and putting processes in place and making sure workers follow them. They also penalise people if they don’t follow the processes.

What does Health and Safety Management mean to you?

Health and safety management starts at the top of the tree. People need to aware of their roles and responsibilities. You need to make sure that you have recorded the necessary information and understand your risk assessments and method statements. It means making sure people challenge things that aren’t right and that they are aware of the regulations. It means clients should employ someone who knows what they are doing.

If you have any health and safety queries visit https://acornhealthandsafety.co.uk/ or contact us at info@acornhealthandsafety.co.uk or on 01604 930380.

Need help with Health and Safety? Request a call back!

Request a call back from one of our expert Health and Safety Consultants who can help you whatever your health and safety, CDM or fire risk needs.

More Health and Safety Articles & News

Don’t cut Health and Safety corners

By Ian Stone | 23rd February 2021

One of the biggest threats to workplace Health and Safety in this country is apathy. It’s not fair to say, in the majority of cases, that company bosses and managers don’t care about the safety of their workforces and subcontractors however, all too often health and safety matters are left to slide. When bosses are …

Read moreDon’t cut Health and Safety corners

Does your business need to consider Health and Safety law?

By Neil Munro | 19th February 2021

So, today we have a question for you. Do you know what a nursing home, yoghurt manufacturer, theme park, housing association, recycling company, a senior school and a logistics firm all have in common? The answer is they’ve all been fined for health and safety breaches during the past three months. Altogether, they have faced …

Read moreDoes your business need to consider Health and Safety law?

CDM regulations

CDM regulations how seriously should constructors take them?

By Ian Stone | 9th February 2021

In last week’s blog we revealed details of a very sad case in which a sub-contractor suffered serious injuries when a stack of plasterboards fell on him at a construction site he was working on in Surrey in breach of the CDM regulations. The case illustrated not only the dangers facing workers on construction sites …

Read moreCDM regulations how seriously should constructors take them?

Risks on construction

Are you taking risks on your construction site?

By Neil Munro | 2nd February 2021

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently revealed the details a sad case in which a sub-contractor suffered serious injuries when a stack of plasterboards fell on him at a construction site he was working on in Surrey. The sub-contractors were moving sheets of plasterboard weighing 32kg each from the ground floor to the second …

Read moreAre you taking risks on your construction site?

health and safety breaches

Will new HSE director mean more prosecutions for Health and Safety breaches?

By Ian Stone | 26th January 2021

Last month, the HSE began the search for its new Director of Legal Services. This is interesting because this is a brand new position that has been created at the organisation following the HSE’s recent Chief Executive-led review. The HSE said the new role was pivotal and would contribute to directly to public confidence in …

Read moreWill new HSE director mean more prosecutions for Health and Safety breaches?

covid health and safety

Would your firm pass a Covid Health and Safety spot check?

By Neil Munro | 19th January 2021

Businesses have had a lot to contend with once again in recent weeks. Whilst some businesses are continuing their normal day-to-day operations as best they can others have had to temporarily close their workplaces once more or manage staff working from home. Whatever group your business falls into it’s essential that you carry out appropriate …

Read moreWould your firm pass a Covid Health and Safety spot check?

positive health and safety

Create a positive Health and Safety culture at your workplace in 2021

By Ian Stone | 12th January 2021

It’s that time of year again when we’re either congratulating ourselves on still keeping up with our New Year’s Resolutions or quietly hoping that no one else will notice we’ve already let them slide. Maybe being stuck indoors a lot recently has made you determined to get more exercise this year or maybe you want …

Read moreCreate a positive Health and Safety culture at your workplace in 2021

keeping safe during lockdown

Keeping you safe during lockdown

By Neil Munro | 7th January 2021

For many businesses the introduction of another national lockdown earlier this week was a bitter pill to swallow. It’s disheartening to know that so many businesses have had to close their doors once again as the country battles to halt the latest rise in Coronavirus cases. However, we are aware that many of our colleagues …

Read moreKeeping you safe during lockdown

health and safety breaches 1

We can protect you from Health & Safety breaches

By Ian Stone | 29th December 2020

We all know Health & Safety is a serious matter but all too often company bosses treat the subject with a sense of weariness or complacency. When directors are trying to juggle the complexities of running their day-to-day operation whilst managing their strategic goals, Health & Safety can easily become something that slips off their …

Read moreWe can protect you from Health & Safety breaches

health and safety rules post brexit

What will Health & Safety rules look like after Brexit?

By Neil Munro | 22nd December 2020

We’ve heard a lot of talk in recent weeks and months about Health & Safety laws will look like in the UK post-Brexit. Some people are under the impression that with the end of our relationship with the EU that the Health and Safety rules that we live by will get thrown out the window. …

Read moreWhat will Health & Safety rules look like after Brexit?