It is a truth universally acknowledged that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to business or health and safety, as the enemy of progress is a stagnant mindset. If everyone is of the same background, then the scope of opinion tends to be relatively narrow and forms an echo chamber where nothing can be truly be changed. To challenge ourselves and our industry in 2020 PSS has taken several steps to bring onboard a diverse range of expertise to help maintain momentum and relevance in an ever-changing world. Part of that is this campaign, garnering viewpoints from not just members but regulators, employee representatives, and stakeholders. However, a more permanent change is in the form of our new board of directors, who offer guidance and advice stemming from decades in their respective fields. This immense resource at PSS’ disposal allows us to be able to withstand very real challenges facing the industry in the upcoming twelve to twenty-four months.
Our current Chair is David Brown, CEO of The Bristol Port Company, who we heard from on Monday. Joining him is Deputy Chair Stuart Wallace, Chief Operating Officer for Forth Ports. Stuart is highly experienced in the industry, having managed port sub-sectors including marine, commercial, and operations stretching from Scotland to London. Pulling the purse strings is Jake Storey, Chief Financial Officer for Harwich Haven Authority, who sits on the board as Treasurer. Storey has twenty-five years’ experience in the shipping industry and has worked for organisations such as Hill Samuel Merchant Bank and the Wescol Group. Martin Lawlor, Chief Executive for the Port of Blyth further expands our embarrassment of riches in port commercial and operations management as well as bringing passionate advocacy for sector skills.
However, PSS was keen to ensure that the board also has substantial marine experience. Neil Glendinning and Peter Steen both served aboard ships before taking land-based positions later in their careers. Neil, for example, offers a comprehensive understanding of harbours, pilotage, and navigation from his time as a senior pilot.
Peter worked aboard North Sea tugs and inshore survey vessels before overseeing the Port of London Authority’s diving and salvage operations. Eddie Scoggins meanwhile, as Head of Safety, Health, and Environment for Hutchison Ports UK, provides key understanding of the risks generated by port work along with specialist knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of emergency services in ports. He also manages not just the Port of Felixstowe police department, but their fire and ambulance rescue crews as well.
The aptitude of this group for direct port management is invaluable in informing PSS policy, both from a business viewpoint as well as determining what is practical for the quay worker. Joining these directors are members who bring exciting new perspectives from other industries. Board member Dave Patterson, VP of South and West Europe for Kalmar brings outstanding knowledge of plant and equipment manufacture and use within our and other sectors. His article on the uses of technology in overcoming the accident plateau was published yesterday.
Dr Alan Page is the programme leader for higher level and safety qualifications at Middlesex University, as well as an author of several books on public health. This academic rigour provides a theoretical foundation on which to build future safety initiatives, ready to be moulded by practical applications.
Meanwhile, Johnny Schute comes to PSS as Chief Operating Officer of the Rail Safety and Standards Board, following time served in the military as Chief Environmental and Safety Officer for the British Army. His experience in two distinct fields of safety, both under differing circumstances, offers us valuable perspective and advice on practices that have proved successful elsewhere. PSS Chief Executive Richard Steele completes the board, utilising his twenty years’ experience in the ports industry and decade at the helm of PSS to deliver strategy and leadership in health and safety for the entire sector.
The new Board of Directors is arguably the most wide-ranging, experience-wise, yet, encompassing academic, professional, and commercial knowledge. Their proficiency in their individual fields brings unique perspectives to the problems we face as an industry going into 2021, and their collaboration with PSS will undoubtedly lead to even better, more nuanced initiatives that will have more practical applications for our members. That alone will help PSS remain at the forefront of sector health and safety policy, and an invaluable resource for the industry for years to come.