Oct 22 2019

Douglas Searle, Health and Safety Director, has recently started his role here at Royal Holloway. We caught up with Douglas to find out more about our Health and Safety team and how they ensure good health and safety practice is followed across the College.

1. Could you tell us about yourself and your role within the Health and Safety team?

I recently joined the College from industry, which is quite a change! I have a wide range of health and safety related responsibilities, but my main focus is making sure that everyone understands their health and safety responsibilities, so we can all look after ourselves and others. I think most people will do the right thing if they understand the reasoning, and our job is to make sure that we make clear what is expected.

2. Why is Health and Safety important in the workplace and how does your team help to ensure that good practice is followed?

The whole idea behind health and safety is to make sure that people go home safe at the end of each day and don’t suffer any ill-health from their work. So it should be easy. The difficulty, and for me the interest, comes from balancing the need to get work done with the need to keep people safe. Coming up with pragmatic and sensible solutions to problems is the key – it isn’t always easy but it is rewarding.

3. What is the future for Health and Safety at our College?

In many ways the future should be the same as the past – as we grow and develop as a College we will continue to look after our staff. The Health and Safety Office will do our part to ensure that Royal Holloway is an enjoyable place to work. When we look after our staff it helps them look after our students, who are the reason we are all here.

We are always looking at ways to improve health and safety at the College and currently we are focusing on our policies and training. That’s where the changes over the next year will be. We want to make it clear what is expected of everyone so it is simple and easy to do what is safe.

4. If a colleague would like to contact someone in the Health and Safety Office, who should they contact and where could they find out more information about Health and Safety?

If you have any questions you can reach out to any of the team or email healthandsafetyrhul.ac.uk and someone will be able to help you. There is no such thing as a stupid question so we’d rather you asked us early than left it until it was too late.

5. What do you enjoy most about working at Royal Holloway and within the Health and Safety team?

The best part of working at Royal Holloway is the campus. Working in the middle of such a great green space is really unusual and it’s something I really enjoy. In terms of the Health and Safety Office, I enjoy working with people who care about what they do and want to improve things at the College as much as they can.

6. What do you enjoy doing with your time outside of work?

I really enjoy spending time with my family, preferably outdoors; I love to get out walking either on my own or with my children. I also play rugby for Andover and coach both touch and ladies rugby. When I am not outside I love to read and have quite an eclectic taste.