If you recently had a Christmas break I hope it was a good and safe one. At this time of year, returning to work after an enjoyable break, safety might not be at the top of everyone’s agenda. At Amec Foster Wheeler we put safety first and are reminding our employees to ‘get back into the swing of things’ straight away. Our clients, our families and our shareholders expect it. We are in the throes of an internal safety awareness campaign called Safe Start and I recently asked our employees to think about what they can do individually to improve safety at work. I asked them: “Does safety mean that you intervene when you see an unsafe act or condition? It may mean you saying ‘no’ when you feel something is unsafe; or, it may just mean you taking the time to consider your actions and the actions of others.” Safe Start goes much further than that but even basic questions like these help our people focus their thoughts on keeping themselves and their colleagues safe.

Confucius said: “If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself.” This is one of my favourite quotes as I am a great advocate of learning, from both good and bad examples. This approach can be applied to our health and safety activities – we need to build on our past excellence and learn from mistakes, adjusting our performance along the way, avoiding them in the future.

One final thought. Safety awareness is not only a workplace matter in my opinion. I want my family and those of all our employees to be safe wherever they are. Nothing pleases me more than to see our focus on safety also make a difference outside of work.

Best wishes for a safe and successful 2015.