Having over 8 years of experience in the safety sector, James has consistently sought innovative approaches to emphasise the importance of safety and the communication methods associated with delivering this message to all staff and contractors. One approach that has particularly stood out is personalising safety. By incorporating a personal touch to safety practices in the workplace, employees become more engaged and gain a better understanding of the needs and risks, all while fostering a safety-focused culture within the business.


James has implemented various methods to personalise safety, including Toolbox talks with site trades, site safety walk-throughs, and online learning and development opportunities. “The main thing is not to be rigid with safety measures, as they play such a significant role in our lives. Personalising safety means that individuals will derive more value from it, as they can see the benefits and how they can apply them to what they are doing. This benefits not only themselves but also the team, ensuring that everyone can go home safely and focus on what matters most to them.” says James on the importance of his approach.


As a key aspect of this personalisation effort, James initiated a monthly internal newsletter called “Huddle on Hoddle.” This newsletter provides valuable tips and updates on safety performance, with each month focusing on different advice, insights, and meaningful contributions from members of the McCormack team. Every month, James acknowledges the HSE staff of the month, highlighting a team member who has shown a commitment to safety and set a positive example on the site. The newsletter also serves as a platform for sharing significant incidents that offer learning opportunities and new safety alerts to be aware of.


“It’s important to show the company’s staff how we are handling safety, performing, and what is currently happening, and to support others who may not be exposed to the same risks. Safety doesn’t stop when we walk out the door; there are things we can do to help our physical and mental health. The more basic stuff we can share, the more tools we have to deal with it. You are more likely to take advice from your peers and workmates because it works for them every day, so why can’t it work for you?”


James has been actively involved in initiatives aimed at breaking the stigma of mental health issues. He took the lead in the RUOK? Initiatives at McCormack and sent a video to all employees of himself having a 5-minute chat with senior site manager Stu Bowman. In this video, they openly discussed how mental health has impacted their lives and ways to support each other at work.


“Mental health will impact everyone, whether they suffer from it or someone close to them. The worst thing we can do is not communicate about it or not acknowledge it in others.”


“We don’t need to be professionals and solve all their problems, but we can create an environment and a process in which we can listen. This is the first step to helping others. The worst thing we can do is stay silent, as you could be left asking the question, ‘Why?”


The values that James instils in the business align with the McCormack family values, and his genuine commitment to well-being, learning, and safety is essential for the operation of this business.


Looking ahead, James will continue to build on his recent work in mental health. James will be teaming up with a few colleagues to grow moustaches during November, participating in efforts to raise awareness for men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and male suicide.


If you would like to support James and the McCormack Movember team feel free to donate by clicking here. We appreciate your support.