Safety Services – Colin Leyden, Managing Director – United Kingdom
Colin Leyden of Falck Safety Services talks about his company’s contribution to health and safety training in Aberdeen, the company’s new facilities and the values that Falck relies on to ensure that it delivers safety to the industry- ‘people helping people’ is the motto he manages by.
You joined Falck Safety Services a little over a year ago. How did your previous positions prepare you for this role?
My previous experience comes from a supply chain perspective and through business development roles- of course across heavy industry there should always be a great value placed on safety. Working previously with organizations built around a core value set, these entities of course had such a focus on wellbeing and cooperation to achieve safety in the workplace. Falck’s value align with this ethos which I have been immersed in previously, making the move here easier. One of the key things I had heard prior to joining Falck was that the company is all about ‘people helping people.’ This is a short message and a very powerful one which clearly denotes what the organization is about globally.
You oversaw, almost from the start, the rebranding of then Falck Nutec to become Falck Safety Services- what were the motivations for the change, and how successful has it been?
Falck bought the global safety group in 2004 and took on Nutec in 2006- from that point the organization moved forward as Falck Nutec. The business is a global safety services provider and one of the considerations provoking the change was that the previous name did not easily convey the company’s offering. It was decided to rebrand the organization to make it easier for clients to understand exactly what we do and to clarify exactly what this business does within Falck- the wider group has other platforms as well.
How do you find dealing with health and safety issues across the various legislatures that you work in?
Health and safety had become a prominent consideration for all organizations globally, not discerning between whether said organization operates onshore, offshore, in the oil and gas sector or without. Everybody understands the aspect of safety and there is a growing corporate acknowledgement of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the need to imbed safety within the culture of the industry. Employees need to know that the employer is willing to hire them, develop them and look after them during their period of employment. That really opens the door to Falck as a safety services provider leading the industry to deliver excellence and further allows companies to adopt and take up safety as best possible. When governments as well as companies are focused on health and safety this transition is far easier.
How are the aging assets in the North Sea changing the way Falck scopes its offering here in Aberdeen?
There are a couple of angles here. There are assets of a certain age which are still in production. This may reduce the speed said asset can be operated at, it may introduce inherent dangers into production because the equipment represents an earlier design, produced in a less safety orientated period – and organizations such as operators have been very focused on these issues, ensuring that the age of an asset does not become a safety issue. Newer assets are entirely designed for safety.
The second part is centered on decommissioning. This process is only in its infancy, but the bill for removal of equipment will run into the billions of pounds and the work involved, will of course need to be done in a safe and appropriate fashion, due to it being such an inherently risky environment.
Last year, Falck invested 100,000 GBP in a training facility here in Aberdeen. What additional facilities did this give you in terms of replicating an emergency scenario?
Last year Falck invested a million GBP in the UK which was targeted at three areas. Flack has, with partners, a fire training area at the airport which is second to none giving a high level of emergency response and fire safety training. The facilities there were increased, giving a good training environment with real heat, black smoke and flames in a helicopter model. This is designed to be as realistic as possible, because through ‘real life training’ comes ‘real life experience’ and through such learning, one is better equipped to engage with a real emergency.
Falck also invested in crisis management suites, which offers the capability to train the offshore installation manager in the managing of emergency situations. There is a control room operations environment too. These simulators can be customized to replicate the client’s own facilities so that the training, by mimicking real life emergencies is as effective as possible.
Finally, the most significant area of investment was in a new man-riding crane unit, which allows a helicopter escape scenario to be recreated. During this operation, a faux-helicopter, weighing a significant amount and crewed by up to six delegates in training and two instructors is lowered into the water. The equipment to do this is sizeable, strong and has four points of redundancy to guarantee safe and efficient operation. This is state of the art equipment, and Falck’s UK operations are equipped with them- and most of Falck’s bases globally too.