Ross Henderson, Principal Health & Safety Consultant
With wide-ranging experience across the construction, manufacturing and education industries, Ross has served for the past six years as one of our most capable and trusted Health & Safety Consultants. During his time in the field, Ross has garnered a truly diverse portfolio, having worked with numerous clients across all sectors.
Whether it’s a small, local charity or a large, multi-site organisation, Ross’ insight and expertise can be applied to any environment and health and safety challenge. Driven by the sense of satisfaction that comes from seeing a client improve safety standards, Ross’ solutions-focused approach continues to produce great results for our Health & Safety clients.
Level 5 NVQ in Occupational Safety and Health
An interview with Ross
What was your background before joining Ellis Whittam?
My career in health and safety began shortly after I graduated from university. I had spent a summer working for a local council, moving between each department and enjoying a range of insight into how an organisation like that functions. Food safety was something that I already felt drawn to beforehand, but as a result of my experiences I eventually chose a health and safety pathway. I pursued an NVQ Level 5 in Occupational Safety and Health, and never looked back. Prior to my current position, I was undertaking a project for a consultancy firm. This was a major infrastructure upgrade and expansion project based in the North West. Then, six years ago, I joined Ellis Whittam, and continue to serve to this day as Principal Health & Safety Consultant. I’ve picked up a range of specialisms and areas of interest during my studies and time in the field, but I’d say the standouts are construction, manufacturing and education.
What does your role at Ellis Whittam entail?
My role primarily involves dealing with clients and providing the best service possible. I support clients across all sectors and have built up a really diverse portfolio over the years, from small local charities to large multi-site organisations, so my typical day can be quite varied depending on what sort of client I’m working with. Once my children are sent off to school, the first thing I do is visit my client and gauge how things are going for them. Depending on the situation, I will spend some time assessing how we can best assist them and add value to the service they’re receiving. I’ll also adapt my approach according to each client; I’m happy to take a less formal stance in some settings, as this can work wonders with particular clients, but I’m equally prepared to be direct and even forceful if I feel it’s necessary. It totally depends.
Which aspect of the role do you enjoy the most, and which do you find most challenging?
I thoroughly enjoy my work, but there are two aspects in particular that bring me great pleasure and a sense of achievement. Firstly, when I’ve been working closely with a client for a period of time and eventually see them improve safety standards, engage their workforce and present tangible improvements in safety culture and practices, that always feels like a major victory. Secondly, the collaborative culture at Ellis Whittam and my relationship with my colleagues is something I enjoy greatly. I really enjoy working closely with other professionals and offering my input on various projects wherever I can. Between us, there’s not much we can’t tackle or much we haven’t seen before! That said, the role certainly comes with its challenges, and relationship management can definitely be one of those. We support many clients, all of whom are unique in their own way, and you have to be very quick to assess characters and moods in order to be successful in your approach.
Can you share any achievements or success stories?
There was one client in particular who I worked with several years ago. At the start of our relationship, I left feeling extremely concerned about safety management on the site and how they would go about things. I worked with the client on an action plan we had devised and revisited the client this year, and was extremely pleased to find that a great deal of effort had been made to improve their working environment. I felt it was clear that they had taken heed of my advice and it’s incidences like this that really make the job worthwhile and solidify why we do what we do.
What advice would you give to employers?
A lack of record keeping is the most common mistake I see employers make. To put it bluntly, health and safety management systems rely on evidence, and regulators will often judge companies solely on this. I’ve lost count of how many clients I’ve seen who have really strong working practices but fail to record them, and as a result are unable to defend their corner effectively. The best advice I can give is to make sure that adequate resources are allocated for proper health and safety practices and record keeping. The costs will be far worse if you don’t.
How would you best describe Ellis Whittam’s support, and what makes it unique?
Quite simply, Ellis Whittam offers a far more personal service than the vast majority of others out there. In our case, the consultant actually gets to know the business itself and doesn’t just pigeon-hole it into a particular group based on its sector, industry, company size and so on. We treat each business as if it is unique, which of course it is, and tailor our approach accordingly. I truly believe that this allows the consultant to dig into the framework of the business and really get to see the ins and outs of it. As a result, they will invariably deliver a higher quality service.
Meet some of our team
“I’ve taken Ellis Whittam into every organisation that I’ve worked with. I’ve introduced them to many teams and many colleagues and referred them with absolute pleasure because I genuinely trust in the service that we get.”
Debbie Jamieson, People Director
“We get a great deal of comfort and satisfaction knowing that we have support as and when we need it, in a decisive and responsive way.”
Richard Berry, Group HR Director
Bluestone National Park Resort
“What we recognised in Ellis Whittam is the background that they have. They are able to supply knowledge and experience in a number of disciplines, which enables us to develop our business in a way that’s safe, to do it on time and with a quality to it.”
Debbie Rainbow, Director of Human Resources and Health & Safety
“As the company started to get larger, we knew we had to protect our employees and our contractors both onsite and in the offices. Ellis Whittam is exactly what we needed to move the company forward.”
Joanne Beaver, Operations Director
“We have found Ellis Whittam to be responsive and aligned with our business in terms of our processes and expectations. Their pragmatic approach has proven to be a great fit – nobody wants to be fighting their adviser on basic employment decisions.”
Jonathan Green, COO
“Ellis Whittam supports our 280 staff members with Employment Law and Health & Safety and has provided quality management training too.”
Lisa Best, Head of Service Delivery
What do you need help with?
Alternatively, give us a call 0345 226 8393
Explore Employment Law and Health & Safety News and Resources
BLOG Thanks to increasing life expectancy and decreasing mortality, there is now a greater age range in the workplace than ever before. But whilst employers
Do vaccinated employees need to take a PCR test following close contact with a positive COVID-19 case?
Blog While the legal requirement for fully-vaccinated people to self-isolate was revoked in an attempt to put an end to the so-called “pingdemic”, people are
BLOG While most COVID restrictions have been lifted, coronavirus remains a workplace hazard that needs to be managed. So what’s expected of employers now? This
BLOG Written by Toyah Marshall on 13 September 2021 The controversial Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 are set
BLOG It’s an unfortunate fact that workplace health and safety doesn’t always get the attention it deserves, often taking a back seat to other business-critical
BLOG Written by Danielle Scott on 27 August 2021 While many may have expected the return to work to be relatively frictionless, the lingering of
BLOG Label photo created by ededchechine – www.freepik.com We recently learned that a total of 142 workers were killed at work in Great Britain in 2020/21.
BLOG Work photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com When it comes to workplace health and safety, the ultimate aim is to proactively prevent accidents before
BLOG One third of employers expect staff to return to the office every day 28% say planning a return to the workplace is their number