Inside Albyn: Health and Safety Manager

Thanks for taking the time to read Inside Albyn, where we invite you to step into the diverse world of Albyn Housing Society. Today in celebration of #ScottishHousingDay we are telling you all about Sharon, our Health and Safety Manager.

What are your primary responsibilities and tasks?

Before joining Albyn in December 2021 as Interim Health and Safety Manager I worked with the business on a consultancy basis so I was able to see where I could make a difference with employee safety and embed improvements supporting colleagues to utilise their skills, knowledge and competencies to work safely “Health and safety is integral to our success – it must be part of our everyday thinking”.

To achieve and support this success my primary responsibilities are to guide the business on health and safety strategy, develop and maintain the safety management system to ensure proportionate interpretation of health and safety requirements; health and wellbeing is a current focus arising from one of the objectives in the HSE Business Plan to ‘reduce work-related ill health, with a specific focus on mental health and stress’.

What does a typical day look like?

I am very fortunate to be able to work hybrid which allows a blend of home and office days split between our two offices.

I always have a daily to-do list which is influenced by a number of proactive and reactive factors; I normally start my day by checking emails and replying or calling the sender to talk through my response and check my calendar for days meetings, training sessions and other tasks flagged as part of my forward planning.

If I am working from home I will revert to my to-do list and work through prioritised tasks; office days start slightly different as I always do either a visual or documented inspection and take the time to walk around and catch up with colleagues.

Are there any unique challenges or exciting aspects?

I came into health and safety as a career in 1999 and after working in various organisations and business types, the housing sector is now providing me with variation and exposure to a different range of hazards.  Developing the risk profile has provided a graphical representation of the risk ratings for identified safety and health hazards which informs the Board, extended Leadership Team and Health and Safety Committee on how these are being managed.

The law sets out requirements and parameters, and these can change very quickly, so a key challenge is knowing how we can make safety arrangements proportionate to align with the requirements of the business.

How do you contribute to the mission and values of our organisation?

Albyn Housing values align closely with those of being an O&SH professional.

I understand my colleagues can face considerable challenges as they deliver services to our customers so if I am to support and engage cooperation from colleagues I have to be caring, through compassion, listening and understanding to identify the solutions which will achieve the best outcomes.

To achieve the best for the business I have to be adaptable by listening to everyone and balancing information; as a general practitioner I don’t claim to know everything so my learning is directed by talking to colleagues who can guide me to understand their challenges.

Being a Chartered member of the Institute of Safety and Health comes with expectations. I need to complete a minimum of 30 annual hours of continuous professional development alongside IOSH Ethical Practice e-learning; ethics underpins being professional, everything I do as an OS&H and housing professional and is important in ensuring trust and upholding the reputation of my employer and profession.

Can you share a specific success story or memorable experience?

One of my successes has been, with full support from the Leadership Team, to implement the Health and Safety Committee; a mechanism where we can consult and communicate within Albyn.  The Committee brings together colleagues from across all business areas and allows for sharing and exchange of views on reactive and proactive requirements.

One of my goals is to build relationships and a peer group with other H&S professionals in Scottish Housing who have overall responsibility for employee safety – contact me if you are interested on or you can call our main number and select option 3 to leave me a message.