Personal and organisational resilience explored at Manchester seminar

Tips from an Olympic athlete on the best rest and recovery techniques for building personal resilience to stress were one of the highlights of the British Safety Council’s recent half-day seminar held in Manchester.

Triple jumper Nathan Douglas, who twice competed for Great Britain at the Olympic Games and captained the British Athletics team at the 2016 European Championships, explained how adequate rest, nutrition and exercise can aid our recovery from stress, maximising our overall wellbeing and personal effectiveness. Nathan spoke alongside colleague Mark Davies from wellbeing consultancy 7Futures, who explained the adverse effects of stress and sleep deprivation on the mind and body and outlined some ways of boosting recovery and performance, based on his work with elite performers, sports personalities and the military.

The morning seminar focused on ways of building personal and organisational resilience, and had a regional theme, with several speakers drawn from major local organisations such as Manchester City Council and the train operating company TransPennine Express (some of the speakers are pictured above).

Tom Powell, head of audit and risk management at Manchester City Council, outlined the emergency response arrangements in place in Greater Manchester for dealing with incidents such as major security alerts or serious industrial accidents and how such events could affect businesses. He also provided advice on crisis and emergency planning, stressing the importance of establishing a suitable staff and building evacuation plan and considering joining local business continuity forums to access good practice advice.

Superintendent Kyle Gordon from British Transport Police outlined some of the steps businesses can take to protect themselves from security threats such as terrorism, crime and cyber attacks. Kyle outlined some of the common types of cyber threats directed at businesses, and explained that general crime prevention ‘housekeeping’ measures at a business premises often cost little or nothing.
Dave Mulhall, head of safety and security at TransPennine Express, explained how the rail firm has provided conflict avoidance training for staff to help reduce the risk of them suffering violence and aggression. He provided some do’s and don’ts for avoiding conflict with aggressive members of the public, and the potential benefits of body-worn cameras for those at major risk of violence or aggression at work.

Steve Hails, director of health, safety and wellbeing at Thames Tideway, closed the seminar by explaining the new Mates in Mind training and awareness programme, which aims to promote and encourage positive mental health in construction.

The seminar was positively received by delegates, with Colin Kershaw, health and safety advisor at Ribby Hall Village, saying it was “well worth taking time out of the office to attend”.​

Click here to see the full programme and the speakers’ biographies.