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WORK LIFE - 'I DIDN'T GET WHERE I AM TODAY WITHOUT....'

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Paul Collyer, Health and Safety Manager, Wiltshire CC ...
Paul Collyer, Health and Safety Manager, Wiltshire CC

Who has influenced you most in your career?

Between working in three councils I had a spell working in the nuclear fuel industry. One of the senior managers at the plant happened to be a neighbour and during our shared journey to work every day he badgered me to get a professional qualification. Without his intervention I might still be cleaning air filters for a living. My present manager made me realise the importance of integrating my health and safety ideas into the corporate goals of the council, while an ex-colleague regularly demonstrated the futility of simply threatening managers with a trip to court.

What's the best thing about your job?

The variety of the issues I get involved with. Within the last few weeks I've been dealing with cases involving arson, legionella, an overturned excavator, e-coli and an escaped snake.

What's the worst thing about your job?

Having to deal with the aftermath of a serious accident. The day I spent in the Coroner's Court following the death of a seven-year-old boy at school is one I never want to experience again.

What has been your best working day so far?

Some of the best have been training courses I've run when everything's gone to plan, everyone's participated and learned something new and we've had a laugh along the way.

What's the best career move you've made?

Marrying one of the senior personnel officers hasn't done any harm . . .

What advice would you give to someone starting their career?

Try to marry a senior personnel officer. Failing this, never ever take yourself or your role too seriously.

What's the biggest mistake you've made?

I'm still haunted by a bowling change I made late on in a Cheshire Cup semi-final 23 years ago.

How would you like to be remembered?

As the tall, good-looking one.

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