Former Borders safety consultant Andrew Sharman, from Jedburgh, has been named president of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).
Splitting his time between Geneva, Switzerland, and a home in Innerleithen, the 45-year-old, will head up the professional body which boasts more than 47,000 members across 130 countries.
An IOSH member for two decades, Professor Sharman is a former chair of its Edinburgh Branch and founded the Scottish Borders Safety Forum in Kelso in the 1990s.
He started his career in health and safety after accidentally spilling acid over himself while working as a process engineer and is now an experienced global safety consultant having worked with household brands like Apple and Mercedes Benz.
Urging health and safety professionals to ensure they respond to new risks created by the changing world of work and new technologies, Mr Sharman said: “For far too long, our profession has been blighted by negative media attention and even ridicule. Our members have been standing strong against this and forward-thinking organisations are becoming wise to the valuable contribution the very best practitioners can bring to their business.
“As a result, perspectives are steadily changing. I’m determined that this continues to happen. Health and safety isn’t about rules and bureaucracy and creating a burden. We need to challenge this perception and demonstrate the true value of what we offer.”
He is urging health and safety professionals to ensure they respond to new risks created by the changing world of work and new technologies.
He said: “Working globally, I see significant variation in how health and safety is approached. I’d like to explore how we can raise the bar across the planet, leveraging IOSH resources and networks, and member knowledge and expertise.
“We need to think about the inputs to great workplace health and safety, looking at those elements that shape cultures and drive behaviours. It’s not really about preventing accidents but rather creating safety through improved teamwork, enhanced understanding, increased morale and engagement and better leadership. When we focus on getting the inputs right, the right outputs will follow.”Mr Sharman was appointed at the body’s AGM earlier this month.
He added: “The president is an ambassador for our members and I feel so deeply honoured to represent our profession and feel excited about the year ahead. We have much to do to ensure that workers go home without harm every day.
“I feel that now is the time that we’ll look back on in future years and reflect about how practitioners around the world really made a step-change in workplace safety.”