South Cumbria and North Lancashire Branch - letter from the Chair

Welcome to all members; old, new and to all those who follow us on social media.

As in any organisation, whether it be paid of voluntary, succession planning is a mainstay for success. We all see this in practice, for me this played out as a three-year stint as Vice Chair to Jim Tongue, followed by my succession to Chair in April 2020.

What succession planning did not take into consideration was a Pandemic of such proportions as Covid-19. Does any organisation plan for such an occurrence? And with so many unknown variables, how do we expect everyone to get it bang on?

Over the last few months we've heard terms such as “unprecedented, challenging times and furlough” a shock to the system of every organisation and of every household in the UK and beyond.

Social distancing measures have left places work, shopping centres and places of natural beauty looking abnormally quiet; however, this has become our new normal on a temporary basis. It has also temporarily halted our ability to share a hand shake, a normal coffee breaks together and the ability to access hot-desks to work on the go.

So as a Committee we have had to learn fast to adapt to a new way of working as I am sure you all have in your workplaces.

In a short space of time we have went from welcoming you all to the Netherwood Hotel in Grange over Sands for our monthly meetings to holding virtual meetings via Zoom. Who’d have guessed that would happen?

So, until we come out the other end, which we will, please continue to join us in our virtual meetings. We have some tremendous speakers lined up and we rely on your continued support whether as an IOSH member or as a Safety Group, South Cumbria Occupational Health and Safety Group (SCOHSG) member organisation to make these a success.

The immediate future is going to be a challenge for us all however we will be stronger in the future I am sure. After all we've already made it through the toilet roll and dried pasta shortage!

We, the committee rely on your support and in return we are here for you, to answer your questions, to take any issues you may have on your behalf.

I would personally like to thank the committee in advance for the support that they will offer and provide during my time as Chair.

Finally, one thing that’s constant in life is change. We may have to change the way we do things as a branch and committee for reasons beyond our control, such as Covid-19, others may be for progression, for improvement and to meet IOSH requirements. For whatever reason, I as chair will try and make it for the benefit of our members.

So, let’s embrace 2020 instead of fearing it, after all as OSH professionals, each one of us will have a part to play during it. It’s time to be strong.

Gary McAteer

Chairman, South Cumbria and North Lancashire IOSH Branch