If you work with guys and meet them halfway, they will meet you too

'I would like to see lifting regulations in place with clear guidance for all parties involved' says Michael Norton, Health and Safety consultant and trainer and Director of Proactive Health and Safety Services.

14th October, 2019

What's your name?

Michael Norton

What position do you hold?

I am a Health and Safety consultant and trainer and Director of Proactive Health and Safety Services.

What is your day to day responsibilities?

Delivering training courses throughout the country to employees and management on a number of different areas, from crane lifting operators to safe plant and machinery operation. I also conduct safety inspections throughout the country in a number of industries form construction projects to engineering operations and lifting operations.

What is your professional background?

I qualified as a safety officer in 2001 from the University of Limerick. I worked as a safety officer on-site and trained as a trainer under the SOLAS CSCS program. In October 2003, I set up Proactive Safety Services based in Limerick, but traveled all over the country auditing operations and delivering training courses. I built the company through the highs and lows of the Celtic Tiger and recession and built a portfolio of loyal clients in a number of sectors with whom I would work very closely on their projects and operations.

Tell us about yourself away from work?

I traveled to London at the age of 16 and began working on construction sites - London was in the middle of a construction boom at the time so work was plentiful. I was employed by Robert McAlpine as a GO site dumper operator then slinger/signaller and finally a crane operator. I came back to Ireland in 1996 working with PJ Hegarty as a crane operator. I like to think I learned my trade the same way as the guys on-site and can relate to the problems and issues they deal with on a daily basis. As a trainer of safety professionals, it’s easy to quote the regulations and legal requirements but I think if you work with guys and meet them halfway, they will meet you too. I can easily work with guys on site and get them to look at easier and safer options in getting tasks completed.

Tell us something very few people know about you?

I have worked as the Safety Adviser/Consultant for the European Tour on the last 11 Irish Opens and the 2014 Ryder Cup.

You are speaking at the 2019 CIF Health & Safety Summit. What are you speaking about?

Safe lifting operations and the safe management of lifting operations on projects.

What challenges do you see for health and safety in the construction sector?

Training and experience of the personnel involved in lifting operations and lifting management in the workplace. From the crane operators and slinger to the lifting supervisors and management on projects.

Where would you like to health and safety in the industry in 10 years’ time?

I would like to see lifting regulations in place with clear guidance for all parties involved. Plus, a structured training program in place for personnel working in the industry. I’d also like to see appointed persons on sites such as lifting supervisors, crane coordinators, slinger signallers, and rigging personnel.

Michael Norton is speaking at the CIF’s 2019 Health & Safety Summit on Nov 12 in Croke Park.

See www.cifsafety.ie for full details.

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