Comment: Speak up 04 July 2019

The Chernobyl disaster of 1986 seems to have hit the headlines again in recent weeks, following rave reviews of a new HBO TV mini-series that depicts the nuclear disaster and the clean-up effort that followed.

A bit of digging into this awful event and I eventually found myself watching River Monsters, whereby extreme angler Jeremy Wade becomes the first fisherman to ever fish the cooling pond that fed into reactor number four. He does indeed catch a Wels catfish, but it is hard to determine what is scarier – the crackling of his Geiger counter by the water or the fact that this fish is half the normal size for its age and harbouring 16 times the usual level of radiation.

Chernobyl, like many other incidents, is a stark reminder of how dangerous and devastating industry can be when things go wrong. Times have changed since 1986, but large- and small-scale accidents still occur. That is why, regardless of the specific sector that you work in, health and safety should be front and centre of everything that you do. Employees and employers should, therefore, only be adopting the very best equipment, working practices, training methods and technologies that they can.

Part of OE’s mission is to promote safety, efficiency and environmental sustainability. These topics and others will be discussed at the first SOE Symposium event (7 November, Birmingham). Bringing together experts in fixed plant, commercial vehicles and risk assessment, it is set to be a stimulating day. More details are available at:

Nobody should ever go to work and not come home in one piece. If you feel unsafe in your role, speak up. If you feel an operation is putting a colleague in danger, speak up. If members of the public or the environment are at risk, speak up. Don’t be afraid to ruffle some feathers. Everybody, from senior management down to new starters, will be thankful in the long run.

Adam Offord

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