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James Fisher Renewables Safety Stand Down Day

Interdependence: the next big step in safety culture

Published on 28th April 2022


Talking health and safety can sometimes lead to sighs of despair; to flashbacks of meetings where we are lectured for hours, shown multiple charts and graphs and are told how and where we are going wrong. Some use that time to plan their meal for the night, whilst others may contemplate what that Wordle could possibly have been that morning, and that’s if they don’t switch off altogether!

This is NOT how it has to be. Health and safety is beyond important and although there will always be the need for statistics and graphs, companies cannot afford to neglect the engagement of employees. In doing this, they risk reinforcing the perception that the responsibility for health and safety does not apply to everyone, nor does the risk of injury, which could not be further from the truth.

So, imagine how refreshing it was when James Fisher Renewables (JF Renewables) decided this year to employ the services of Macnaughton McGregor (2macs to their friends) to deliver a Safety Stand Down Day for our colleagues in EDS and Rotos 360, which took place in March 2022 in Manchester, UK. For those unaware, 2macs is the UK’s leading provider of drama-based safety training. They specialise in helping organisations make real changes to their approach to health and safety, with the added aim of making tangible, lasting difference to their clients’ business. They will say that if it were as simple as telling people how to behave, we could all just invest in a few posters to achieve a healthy and robust safety culture. They know, however, that building a sustainable safety culture is a complex blend of behaviours, attitudes, and environmental factors, and that is where their expertise comes in.  The day was delivered by four of 2macs amazing Senior Facilitators, Philip Harrison, James Harris, Sean Kenney and Dan Higdon, and was designed by Shaun Curry, Join Head of Safety Culture Development at 2macs.   

The morning started with a funny, light-hearted entrance by Philip, delivering humorous insight after humorous insight – a few which involved ‘robust’ language too `choice’ to be shared in this article – Phillip immediately had the audience relaxed and engaged. Those attending would not have been blamed for wondering if they were even in the right meeting. By no means is health and safety a laughing matter, but what a fantastic way to start a conversation around such a serious topic.  Delivering an array of important health and safety messages to a team of over 50 JF Renewables professionals, whose workloads span activities ranging from termination and testing, high voltage operations, blade repair and wind farm asset management, was no mean feat. Nevertheless, 2macs managed to achieve this and did so in a spectacular fashion.

Why though? Safety is already firmly at the forefront of agenda, with EDS approaching 5 years without an LTI.  So, does that mean they’re done?  That they’re the best that they can be?  If they’re already so efficient when it comes to health and safety, then why have a Safety Stand Down Day? Well, everyone had a great day out and got to enjoy each other’s company in person, which has not been possible for some time. They caught up over food and drink, and even got to know some new faces within the business, but what was the overall point?

Because safety is James Fisher Renewables number one priority. Their employees, customers, contractors: as 2macs put it, they are their ‘mates’ and they have their backs. These people have families, friends, and lives outside work, and they need to ensure they return home safely at the end of each day; not to improve their own statistics, but because they genuinely care about their safety. The Safety Stand Down Day was not only a stark reminder of the terrible repercussions and potential lifelong effects of any safety incident, but a way for JF Renewables to be reminded that, although there are some factors that people cannot control, there are also many things that they can. 

They have employees that have been with them for many years and as they’ve continued to go from strength to strength, the team has grown significantly, meaning there are many new starters. They see it as their job to continually educate and remind the team of their safety culture, to lead by example, to practice what they preach and to empower their employees, giving them the confidence to stop the job. They believe that no employee should be concerned over circumstances such as their level of seniority or potential cost implications when it comes to a matter of safety; what is important is that everyone returns home safe.

The primary goal of the day was to educate employees – both existing and new – of the importance of speaking up when noticing an unsafe situation or potential hazard. This is where 2macs came in. They enlightened employees about safety frameworks such as Heinrich’s Triangle, the Bystander effect, which, it turns out, we are all scarily more than capable of being, even if we never EVER thought we could be and the Swiss Cheese model. Through the use of props, inflatables and a number of willing volunteers, employees were provided with great insight into the numerous factors at play when it comes to health and safety.


Quote from Robin Ditchfield, HSEQ Manager, EDS:

“To join a business as the HSEQ Manager and attend this type of event within my first two weeks was fantastic and gives me the confidence that safety really is driven by the MD and leadership team.  Everyone who attended was fully involved and engaged with the day’s activities and the most important message was that everyone is directly empowered to intervene if they see something unsafe at work and will be supported by the leadership team for doing so.”


It was a health and safety event that can only be described as engaging, inspiring and impactful.  A meeting where employees left remembering every single part of the day, including the 20 random items that were recited as part of an exercise designed to demonstrate the importance of effective storytelling. Employees were encouraged to take stock of their own health and safety priorities in an activity where bidding against their colleagues in a make-shift auction for desired safety values proved a thought-provoking – albeit competitive – activity.

For the staff, the day allowed them to stop, take stock and re-evaluate where they are and where we want to be in terms of our approach to safety. EDS and Rotos 360 both operate under James Fisher Renewables and are moving into new territories around the world. All these factors mean they want to continue to ensure that their safety culture is communicated to all: a culture of INTERDEPENDENCE, which can only be achieved when everyone takes responsibility for not only their own wellbeing, but that of the environment and those around them.

No one can ever guarantee absolutely zero harm, but what JF Renewables strives to do is communicate their values to all employees, contractors and customers; to not only say that health and safety is their number one priority but demonstrate it through their actions. If there was one takeaway from the safety stand down, it’s that actions speak louder than words.


Quote from Shaun Curry, Joint Head of Safety Culture Development 2macs -

“We were so impressed with JF Renewables approach to health and safety. Commitment from the top is crucial on any safety culture development journey. This positive commitment was embodied fully in the Senior Leadership Team who helped me develop the programme.  They wanted the simple message that, ‘it was just part of the job description to stop the task should anything be deemed unsafe’ to permeate throughout every activity within the company.” 

Quote from Wayne Mulhall, Managing Director James Fisher Renewables -

“The day allowed us to revel in the fact that we have got an amazing team and reminded me of how incredibly proud I am of our staff. They are a testament to our safety culture which we endeavour to instil in all our operations, living and breathing it throughout day-to-day activities. And it is my promise to my team that should any of them ever feel that their health or safety is at risk, they have my mobile number, they call me day or night and I will stand side by side with them to guarantee any issue is resolved.” 

And for JF Renewables customers, a continued promise that they will continue to put Health and Safety as top priority to ensure the highest of standards are met and no corners are cut. That Safety Management Systems will continue to be robust and tailored to individual requirements. JF Renewables believe that days such as their Safety Stand Down Day are worth their weight in gold, as investing in their own staff mean that they are better placed to support their customers in any eventuality. JF Renewables promise to continue to not only follow the rules, but to write them.



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 Written by Katie Marsden


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