Interview: Training Advisor John Healy talks Health & Safety

With World Health and Safety Day coming up on April 28 we thought it’d be a great time to catch up with John Healy, inland ports training and safety advisor, to hear all about how he manages health and safety when working with big equipment with high risks.

What do you do in your role?

I’m the inland ports training and safety advisor. I train drivers, I train trainers and I manage the training too. My favourite aspect is the interactions I have with people. I enjoy knowing what’s going on and being involved.

How does health and safety factor into your training?

It’s paramount. We have some pretty unusual equipment that can actually be quite daunting to drive. We need to make sure new drivers understand our safety practices inside out.

How else do you manage health and safety on site?

We run toolbox talks before every shift. We go through health and safety messages and discuss what’s on for the day. Everybody has a chance to raise concerns. Keeping our machines safe is also really important. We have daily checks and train the staff up so they can identify when something’s wrong.

Tell us about the new Sirius Star Service and your involvement with that.

That’s a new vessel service running through the port. The ships drop off containers and we hold them until they get shipped out again. My role was to train port-side drivers, trainers and assessors on some of our inland equipment which they need for the particular style of stacking required. It’s worked out really well. They’ve put 37 people through the training so far with more to follow.

You have some pretty unusual plant to drive, how long does training take?

We start with a six week programme but that can be extended as long as needed. The things we drive can actually be quite daunting. A lot of people come in thinking it’ll be just like a forklift. Then they get in and go “oh, this is nothing like a forklift”. When you’re in the driver’s seat stacking containers six high it’s quite a different story!

What’s your number one health and safety tip?

I’m all about communication. That’s my thing. If something isn’t right, speak up. If someone’s talking to you, try to understand their perspective. Communication is fundamental to health and safety. You can have a hundred controls out there, but if things aren’t communicated properly, it all goes out the window. Communication also means better engagement. If people are included in conversations early on, then they take ownership of things. Also, you get the feedback you need.

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