I've used my new-found knowledge to begin developing a range of staff engagement initiatives

Case Study: Kris Yorke

We spoke to Kris Yorke, a NEBOSH Best Candidate for 2022, who told us what his qualification meant for him.

Kris, you have worked at Stadler Rail since 2020. Can you tell us a little about the organisation?
Stadler Rail Service UK Limited (SRS UK) is a subsidiary of Stadler Rail AG, a Swiss manufacturer of railway rolling stock, headquartered in Bussnang, Switzerland.

With its UK headquarters in Liverpool, SRS UK offers rolling stock maintenance services employing 400 people at locations across the country. Since 2016 Stadler has won six contracts in the UK, several with integrated service solutions.

Your role within the company is as a QHSE Manager. Can you tell us more about the sort of things you do day-to-day?
I am based at SRS UK’s maintenance depot in Gosforth, Newcastle. In short, my day-to-day remit is to ensure that all risks associated not only with health and safety but also quality and environment are identified and effectively managed. This involves ensuring that optimum staff welfare and safety, commercial performance and the highest levels of environmental stewardship are consistently achieved, and that in doing so we also achieve sustainability for the business.

You completed your NEBOSH General Certificate in 2022, for which you won a Best Candidate award at our 2022 Graduation – congratulations! Why did you take this qualification?
Obtaining the NEBOSH General Certificate was part of a personal development plan that was created in conjunction with my employer. I wanted to gain knowledge of the kind of health and safety lessons learned over recent decades, along with practical solutions for enabling an environment in which the highest standard of working conditions could be assured.

Did you enjoy the course?
Although content-heavy and extremely challenging, I did find the course very enjoyable indeed! I’ve learnt a great deal that I have already started putting into practice in my role as QHSE Manager.

How has your qualification benefitted you since you completed it?
I have been able to use my new-found knowledge to begin developing a range of staff engagement initiatives that will help us acquire the data necessary to more accurately identify areas for improvement and more effectively implement mitigating actions. If you think about the concept of the Iceberg of Ignorance (Yoshida, 1989) for example, it says that only 4% of problems are known to top managers. We need initiatives that will help us better engage with staff so we can mine for that missing 96% of information. This has included means for reporting close calls and staff suggestions via QR codes, regular HSE bulletins and Gemba walks (a tour of the ‘shop floor’).

What do you enjoy most about being a health and safety professional?
I enjoy helping the business that I work for provide a modern and vibrant working environment. I get great satisfaction from helping our people come to work, successfully ply their trade during the day and return safely to their loved ones at shift end.

What would be your advice be to anyone at the start of their health and safety career?
You’d struggle to find a more worthwhile career, and so firstly, many congratulations on choosing health and safety as your vocation! My advice going forward is to never accept the status quo - there is always room for improvement. Knowledge is power; never cease in the pursuit of the information you require to affect those improvements in health and safety, and never shy away from sharing your own lessons learned so that others may benefit from your experience too. Protecting people is a noble objective that we all share, and collaboration in one form or another is essential.