Ross Henderson, Principal Health & Safety Consultant
With wide-ranging experience across the construction, manufacturing and education industries, Ross has served for the past six years as one of our most capable and trusted Health & Safety Consultants. During his time in the field, Ross has garnered a truly diverse portfolio, having worked with numerous clients across all sectors.
Whether it’s a small, local charity or a large, multi-site organisation, Ross’ insight and expertise can be applied to any environment and health and safety challenge. Driven by the sense of satisfaction that comes from seeing a client improve safety standards, Ross’ solutions-focused approach continues to produce great results for our Health & Safety clients.
NVQ Level 5 in Occupational Safety and Health
OHSAS Internal Auditor
Display Screen Equipment Assessor and Ergonomic Principles (RoSPA)
An interview with Ross
What was your background before joining WorkNest?
My career in health and safety began shortly after I graduated from university. I had spent a summer working for a local council, moving between each department and enjoying a range of insight into how an organisation like that functions. Food safety was something that I already felt drawn to beforehand, but as a result of my experiences I eventually chose a health and safety pathway. I pursued an NVQ Level 5 in Occupational Safety and Health, and never looked back. Prior to my current position, I was undertaking a project for a consultancy firm. This was a major infrastructure upgrade and expansion project based in the North West. Then, six years ago, I joined WorkNest, and continue to serve to this day as Principal Health & Safety Consultant. I’ve picked up a range of specialisms and areas of interest during my studies and time in the field, but I’d say the standouts are construction, manufacturing and education.
What does your role at WorkNest entail?
My role primarily involves dealing with clients and providing the best service possible. I support clients across all sectors and have built up a really diverse portfolio over the years, from small local charities to large multi-site organisations, so my typical day can be quite varied depending on what sort of client I’m working with. Once my children are sent off to school, the first thing I do is visit my client and gauge how things are going for them. Depending on the situation, I will spend some time assessing how we can best assist them and add value to the service they’re receiving. I’ll also adapt my approach according to each client; I’m happy to take a less formal stance in some settings, as this can work wonders with particular clients, but I’m equally prepared to be direct and even forceful if I feel it’s necessary. It totally depends.
Which aspect of the role do you enjoy the most, and which do you find most challenging?
I thoroughly enjoy my work, but there are two aspects in particular that bring me great pleasure and a sense of achievement. Firstly, when I’ve been working closely with a client for a period of time and eventually see them improve safety standards, engage their workforce and present tangible improvements in safety culture and practices, that always feels like a major victory. Secondly, the collaborative culture at WorkNest and my relationship with my colleagues is something I enjoy greatly. I really enjoy working closely with other professionals and offering my input on various projects wherever I can. Between us, there’s not much we can’t tackle or much we haven’t seen before! That said, the role certainly comes with its challenges, and relationship management can definitely be one of those. We support many clients, all of whom are unique in their own way, and you have to be very quick to assess characters and moods in order to be successful in your approach.
Can you share any achievements or success stories?
There was one client in particular who I worked with several years ago. At the start of our relationship, I left feeling extremely concerned about safety management on the site and how they would go about things. I worked with the client on an action plan we had devised and revisited the client this year, and was extremely pleased to find that a great deal of effort had been made to improve their working environment. I felt it was clear that they had taken heed of my advice and it’s incidences like this that really make the job worthwhile and solidify why we do what we do.
What advice would you give to employers?
A lack of record keeping is the most common mistake I see employers make. To put it bluntly, health and safety management systems rely on evidence, and regulators will often judge companies solely on this. I’ve lost count of how many clients I’ve seen who have really strong working practices but fail to record them, and as a result are unable to defend their corner effectively. The best advice I can give is to make sure that adequate resources are allocated for proper health and safety practices and record keeping. The costs will be far worse if you don’t.
How would you best describe WorkNest’s support, and what makes it unique?
Quite simply, WorkNest offers a far more personal service than the vast majority of others out there. In our case, the consultant actually gets to know the business itself and doesn’t just pigeon-hole it into a particular group based on its sector, industry, company size and so on. We treat each business as if it is unique, which of course it is, and tailor our approach accordingly. I truly believe that this allows the consultant to dig into the framework of the business and really get to see the ins and outs of it. As a result, they will invariably deliver a higher quality service.
Who you’ll be working with
Executive Director, Privacy International
WorkNest supports our 280 staff members with Employment Law and Health & Safety and has provided quality management training too.”
Head of Service Delivery, Catalyst Choice
We get a great deal of comfort and satisfaction knowing that we have support as and when we need it, in a decisive and responsive way.”
Group HR Director, Culina Group
We moved our legal support to WorkNest (formerly Law at Work) having previously used a time and line law firm. It was important, though, that an all-inclusive fee structure did not come at the expense of quality. Thankfully we’ve been delighted with the service we’ve received from WorkNest.”
What we recognised in WorkNest is the background that they have. They are able to supply knowledge and experience in a number of disciplines, which enables us to develop our business in a way that’s safe, to do it on time and with a quality to it.”
Director of Human Resources and Health & Safety,
Bluestone National Park Resort
Chief Executive, The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT)
As the company started to get larger, we knew we had to protect our employees and our contractors both onsite and in the offices. WorkNest is exactly what we needed to move the company forward.”
Operations Director, Beaverfit
Pineapple have worked with the team at WorkNest (formerly Law at Work) since 2003, and we have built a trusted partnership together. We particularly like WorkNest’s concise and practical advice concerning employment law/HR issues and also appreciate their totally supportive approach in all areas of health and safety.”
Pineapple Dance Studios
I’ve taken WorkNest into every organisation that I’ve worked with. I’ve introduced them to many teams and many colleagues and referred them with absolute pleasure because I genuinely trust in the service that we get.”
People Director, The Works