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Former Fire & Life Safety Consultant, Shane Lannon details the growing need for more Health & Safety, Environmental & Fire professionals

In recent years we’ve seen an amplified focus on the areas of Health & Safety, Environmental & Fire specialist services across all industries in Ireland

These areas in the past were often considered a side show, an additional expense, or more of a tick the box exercise to save face for an organisation. Now, they have become more mainstream, largely due to the uncovering of notable incompetence or on the back of an event resulting in serious injuries or worse, fatalities.

Online platforms have given more exposure and increased the sensitivity to these areas once left unnoticed. Social media attention can quickly snowball into fierce scrutiny, with pressure being brought to bear on both public and private bodies. Ultimately, the attention can result in the reassessment and change to legislation. 

The Rising Green Tide

Furthermore a more stringent focus on the environment by a wave of political energy around Europe. The rise of the Green Party in Ireland but perhaps more importantly, Germany  is proof of this. With various groups forming to put pressure on governmental bodies, it will not be surprising to see further legislation introduced across the board. The knock on effect of this will be requiring more skilled professionals in this field.

From an environmental perspective, one recent example of this was RTE’s Prime Time investigation. It related to ESB pipe oil leakages into Dublin Canals that had not been rectified for years despite continuous flagging of the issue internally. It was only actioned and resolved after it had made national headlines.

In addition, there were Health & Safety concerns relating to the staff within the ESB and how they were frequently using unsafe equipment / systems of work. What was more alarming was that issues had been highlighted by a Health & Safety Professional within the company and were not taken heed of.

The landmark case in relation to fire safety was the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London that resulted in the deaths of over 70 people. The rate at which the fire spread throughout the building brought into question the rules and regulations around cladding materials, with changes made to legislation within weeks to ban all combustible cladding in England and Wales. 

Change and Opportunity

Legislation is starting to tighten and organisations are investing more heavily in avoiding such cases as the ones outlined above. New industry standards are being introduced, two of the key ones being ISO 14001 and ISO 45001, the latter being a brand new set of guidelines on workplace safety developed in the last few years. 

The areas of Health & Safety, Environmental and Fire are and will continue to increase in popularity as a choice of profession, more universities are creating relevant degrees and more demand across all industries for quality professionals as a result. If you want to start exploring those options, you can browse our positions on offer or give me a call for a confidential chat about your options. 

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