Meet Louise Jackson, our new National Health and Safety Manager
Published: 13th April 2021
We’re delighted to welcome Louise Jackson to the Barnsdales FM team in her new role as National Health and Safety Manager. Louise will be working with our clients to make sure their facilities are safe and their workers and visitors are protected.
Here, Louise explains her career, her ambitions for her new role and what sets her apart from the stereotypical health and safety manager...
When I came back from maternity leave 16 years ago, I wanted a new job, a new challenge. There just so happened to be a job for an administration assistant in the health and safety team with Aviva, so I applied for it - I’m pretty sure I was the only one that did, but I was offered the job, and my career kind of grew from there.
Prior to that, I had no idea about health and safety. It was never anything I thought I'd do for a living, but it's actually a career that I've grown to really love, and it’s something I’m very passionate about.
I joined the team doing admin, and, over time, I was earning qualifications and I started picking up more work: I was doing audits, inspections, accident investigation, all sorts. And I just flourished in it, really.
And then, obviously, recent events meant I was faced with redundancy as the company restructured as a result of the pandemic. Within 24 hours of that being confirmed, Clive Chippindale from Barnsdales FM rang me and offered me my new job as National Health and Safety Manager, which is a brand new role for the company.
This is a great new opportunity for me: With it being a new role, I get to come in and build something up my way, taking everything I’ve learned over the last 16 years and really come into my own.
I like to think I have a different attitude towards health and safety than most people think that we do in this field of work. In health and safety, we get stereotyped: My partner is a builder and one of the first questions he asked me was ‘what do you do for a living?’. And as soon as I told him, I heard his eyes roll in his head on the other end of the phone, and you get that reaction all the time.
I feel my own personal background sets me apart from your typical health and safety professional; I like to think I'm a bit younger, I'm not from a privileged background and I’ve had to scrimp and save to get through life, often being the underdog and being a single parent. All that means I have a different attitude towards life and work. I strive to make health and safety engaging and really feel I can relate to most people I come into contact with.
My focus is on building relationships. I pride myself on being friendly, approachable and fun, you know, and I find that makes the whole process a lot easier for everyone.
Coming into Barnsdales, my goal is to be innovative and I want to collaborate with people, rather than being a dictator. I don't want to be marching in and telling people to stop what they’re doing; I want to help companies to modernise their health and safety, helping them meet their goals while doing things properly.
I think people panic a bit when health and safety gets involved, but it’s just about common sense: I just want to be fun, I want to innovate, to collaborate with people and change cultures for the better. Health and safety can be approached with a very positive attitude and that’s something you get with me.
Barnsdales is a great company; it has quite a female-heavy workforce which is fantastic. I know health and safety and facilities management tends to be quite male oriented, so it's quite refreshing to see such good female representation on the structure chart. The team members are also really lovely and lots of them are from Yorkshire so they’re my kind of people.
Barnsdales isn’t a huge global firm, but it is a well respected and established company so I’m really excited to be part of the team and being part of a tight-knit workforce.