Caffyns - Health&Safety Officer
- How did I get into the Motor Industry? I started working as a part time / job share in Reception at one of our branches when my children were little as I was able to be around when they needed me. One of my responsibilities was for the Heath and Safety co-ordinator at the branch; and found I loved it. I progressed through the branch into various roles, Sales Admin, Customer Care and finally as an administrator in the Service Dept. all the while taking the Health and Safety role with me. The HOB recognised how much I enjoyed it and sowed the seed that once my predecessor retired, I’d be good at taking over. That was it. My sight was set!! Come 2017 I had my chance and was fortunate to secure the role.
- My role: My role within the group is very varied and no two days are the same. From managing various Health and safety related training schedules to contractor registers, Insurance documentation and organising repairs; anything in fact that is covered under the Health and Safety At work Regulations or the Management Regulations. Audits are regularly carried out encompassing the Environmental aspect as well. I take time to speak with many people within the group and branches as possible to build a good attitude to Health and Safety as I believe when people understand the whys and wherefores, they understand what is asked of them. It also builds trust and if there are issues you are much more likely to be told than for it to be hidden which can so often be the case across any industry. Ultimately my role is to make sure Caffyns has a positive Health and Safety culture as well as meeting our Health and Safety obligations.
- What part do I enjoy the most? This is a difficult one to answer as I love everything about what I do. I love my job. If I had to pinpoint anything specific it would be the education aspect of it. To take a nonunderstanding objection and turning that around into a positive understanding and winning someone over is hugely rewarding. You just can’t beat someone saying “ thank you I really appreciate what you’ve done” when you’ve resolved a problem.
- What support have I received from Caffyns? The support and back up I get from my piers is phenomenal. If there is a problem that needs to be addressed or a hurdle to overcome the assistance and knowledge of senior management knows no bounds. We have a very good no blame culture which is very supportive. Health and Safety is quite often a hard job with decisions to be made that will not go down well but the support and teamwork enables me to tackle those difficult tasks knowing that I have a whole group of Managers backing my decisions. It is hugely reassuring and despite my role being a singular one, I am not on my own.
- What do I see as my biggest achievement and next goal? The pandemic: I took over the full responsibility of the role just as the pandemic hit in 2020. Everything was on my shoulders. The company looked to me on how we should play this. When I spoke, they listened. If there were any objections or questions, I had to be able to deal with this and be able to back up my decisions from my knowledge of the Health and Safety at work act and why we needed to do what we had to. My procedures not only encompassed the mandatory guidelines that were released from the government but implement them in such a way that it became normal practice. It could not be too overbearing for staff when they returned to their normal duties. This is a very difficult position to be in, you have to follow legislation and government guidelines but at the same time if it’s too difficult or complicated to follow then it will be dropped by the wayside. The final complements came when our customer reviews came through saying how well we were managing our branches and how safe and well considered customers felt. I felt hugely proud not only of myself for getting it right but for the staff buying into my policies and rolling them out and ‘doing it’.
My next goal: I’m still studying so I want to get finished with my qualifications; studying at my age is no easy feat and although things have not always gone to plan, I’m stubborn and not a quitter. I will get those letters behind my name!! with Caffyns support it will, absolutely become a reality.
- Do I have recommendations for young people thinking about starting a career in the automotive industry?
Absolutely. The industry is so diverse that there are opportunities for all. With new innovations coming through it’s an exciting time with electric vehicles beginning to pick up the pace. I also heard that someone had invented a solar car although I’m not so sure that’s a good thing in the United Kingdom. There are some fantastic opportunities to build good life experiences, a good career, and the opportunity to earn a good wage. Young people are our future with a thirst for life they bring a valuable resource to the industry.