Management teams must lead by example and practice what they preach

Case Study: Tesni James

We spoke to Tesni James, a NEBOSH Best Candidate and construction company Director, who champions ongoing personal development and promotes staff wellbeing.

Tesni, you have worked at Tom James Construction Services Ltd since 2021. Can you tell us a little about the organisation?
Tom James Construction Services Ltd is a groundwork, construction and build services company based in the small rural town of Blaenau Ffestiniog in Wales. We complete work for a variety of clients including local authorities, construction companies and private housing. We are accredited with ISO 9001, 14001 and 45001.

I have worked part-time for Tom James Construction Services Ltd for years and became a Director in 2021. It is our family business; my husband and I are directors, a lifelong friend is our finance and office manager and we employ lots of local people to create our great team.

Your role within the company is as a Director. What does this entail?
In my role I coordinate HSQE and customer satisfaction and ensure that all KPIs are met, as well as complete supervision and appraisals for all our employees. I also chair monthly supervisors meetings and regular health and safety meetings. I complete site visits to carry out health and safety inspections and work with my husband and our project manager to complete risk assessments and construction phase plans following CDM regulations.

I monitor sickness and absence and I also manage all accidents and incidents, record any events and complete internal investigations.

In 2019 we gained the ISO 9001, in which I was instrumental. We bought in an integrated management system, and I was responsible for implementing the new health and safety management system that lead to our successful accreditation for ISO 14001, 45001 and 9001.

As a company that really values its employees, what do you do to embed a health and safety culture within the workforce?
I believe in training our workforce so that they continue to develop their own skills and knowledge and also ensure that the company grows. We implement health and safety rules to make sure that everyone works in a safe manner, and encourage accident/incident and near miss reporting so that we can learn from our experiences.

I am adamant that our management team must practice what we preach – leading by example to follow our company guidelines. Health and safety is extremely important to us, therefore monitoring staff’s wellbeing and ensuring that everyone goes to and returns from work safely is our priority. To help with this we monitor staff absence and have team days to promote staff wellbeing.

You were a social worker for over eight years before making the switch to construction. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
I was a Social Worker in the children and adults team for years. I really enjoyed the work due to my genuine interest in people and their wellbeing and I was lucky to be part of a great team, which always helps. I think I will always be a Social Worker at heart and now transfer the skills learned to my current role. Due to our growing family and business it was just naturally the time for me to switch and concentrate on a full-time role at Tom James Construction Services.

You completed your NEBOSH Construction Certificate in 2022, for which you won a Best Candidate award at our 2022 Graduation – congratulations! You have also completed your NEBOSH General Certificate, NEBOSH Working with Wellbeing, NEBOSH HSE Award in Managing Risks and Risk Assessment at Work and are studying for your NEBOSH National Diploma. Why did you take these qualifications?
I chose to complete the Health and Safety Management for Construction (UK) qualification due to my interest in health and safety and the high-risk nature of working in construction. Staff wellbeing is really important to us and we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to promote safety in the workplace so that employees are able to go home safely each day to their families.

Being able to complete this standard of health and safety training over the last two years has made it possible for me to further develop and become more competent in managing the health and safety side of the business.

The flexibility of completing the course online has also been great for me as I live in a rural area; I could complete full days of training online from home weekly. It also allowed me to work around my children and busy work schedule, with the added bonus that not having to physically travel to a classroom benefits the environment.

Did you enjoy the courses?
I found the information that I learned through the course really interesting, and it’s always good to reflect on good and bad practice and discover new and different ways of completing construction work. It was nice to have a great group taking the course with me too. The Construction Certificate is really detailed in the work you complete and very relevant; it ensures a good understanding of health and safety within the construction industry.

I chose Delyn Safety UK as my Learning Partner as I have already completed many courses with them successfully and find that their training methods work well for me.

What made you decide to progress to the Diploma?
I decided to complete the Diploma as it was the next step for further information and training to suit my need for professional development.

How have your qualifications benefitted you since you completed them?
Completing all these qualifications has given me further knowledge about how to comply with legislation and the ability to adapt to changing workplaces. The information gained is used in my role daily and is helpful when completing a wide variety of tasks such as inductions, on-site health and safety inspections, health and safety meetings and risk assessments.

The knowledge that I have gained from the qualification also helps with understanding and managing the ISO 45001 standard in occupational health and safety, as we have an integrated management system.

What do you enjoy most about being a health and safety professional?
I love that every day is different and enjoy the challenge that there are always different situations and risks to be assessed to ensure everyone’s safety.

I am so proud of the awards that I recently won; I am a true believer that if you put the time, effort and learning into anything you can do it. I am eager to continue with my studies and make positive health and safety a priority in our business alongside our great team.

What would be your advice be to anyone at the start of their health and safety career?
My advice to anyone at the start of their health and safety career is to go for it - every day is a new day for learning and working towards a safer working environment!