Site Safe scholarship programme inspiring the next generation of health and safety leaders
20 Sep 2022
Daniel Pidgeon, 2020 scholarship recipient, was spurred into exploring how he can benefit health and safety in the workplace.
Site Safe awards scholarships as a way to express our dedication to supporting the construction industry’s next generation of aspiring health and safety leaders.
We are proud to have seen many successful students progress through the Health and Safety in Construction programme to become industry leaders in health and safety since scholarships began.
Daniel Pidgeon was one of the deserving recipients of a scholarship for the heights sector in 2020.
"I never really appreciated how valuable a tool it is until I did the scholarship program,” he said.
“The Leadership in Safety [course] was particularly good, I really enjoyed that, and it was nice to see business owners, directors [and] the leading bodies within various organisations jumping on board and doing these courses too.”
Daniel said there were “lots of good takeaways” from the programme and he credited it with shifting his mindset towards exploring how he can benefit health and safety in the workplace.
“The access industry is inherently dangerous and I keep relating back to this throughout the scholarship program, we take safety very seriously because we have to, you don't get many second chances doing what we do and Site Safe really was a catalyst for [me] starting The Art of Access.”
After completing the programme, Daniel was spurred into starting the specialist height access, confined space and rescue cover organisation.
"[We’re] really pushing the height safety and rescue cover side of things within the construction industry.
“I've noticed that there's a big gap between what we do say as specialist access technicians and [then] I've seen people on step ladders next to large drops and they just don't appreciate the seriousness of what they’re doing and I think the Site Safe scholarship gave me the knowledge and the confidence to approach these people onsite.”
Daniel said the programme had “empowered” him to educate those onsite but he was also aware he had to run a “thin line” of educating while not “picking too many holes”.
He hoped the onsite teachings would encourage everyone to take more accountability for their actions.
“Nobody responds well to criticism like that from someone random but it’s empowered me to educate them onsite, show them the error of their ways and a better way of doing it.
"Regardless of how you go about it there's not one size that fits all kind of scenario but the consequences of their actions might not directly impact themselves, it's the others around them as well. That seems to be a big hitter if you like, especially in regards to edge management processes.”
Daniel said many in the industry still hold the “she’ll be right” attitude towards their health and safety and often don’t take the risks they face as seriously as they should.
He hoped his work advocating for safer work practices would start changing this mindset.
“In my early days in the trades, health and safety was as they say a box-ticking exercise and through the education that's been provided through Site Safe, I've been able to see it in a broader sense and not just as a business owner but [also seeing] the accountability of employees and other tradesmen, allowing us to shift that mindset from box-ticking to genuine care and attention.”
Daniel’s next step for The Art of Access was to provide interviews with some “elite access technicians” to “share techniques, information and stories throughout the various aspects of [the] industry”.
He would then like to shift his focus to providing content aimed at giving “simple techniques to up-skill the greater community”.
"A lot of these [people] are old friends, search and rescue, or fire station and access technicians around the place, so it’s always nice to catch up and chew the fat, and if we can switch some information to help others then [that’s] great,” he said.
"I think that's how we create that cultural shift, it takes more than one person to change [the] industry but it only takes one person to spark that idea, one person tells one person, tells two, tells four it could be an exponential curve if we get it right.”
This year, six categories are up for grabs to encourage participation in health and safety in construction across a broad demographic and to reflect the industry's diverse nature.
The categories are:
- Under 25
- Women in Construction
Entries opened in September and close on October 31. More information about the scholarship programme and how to apply can be found at: www.sitesafe.org.nz/training/scholarships
“In my early days in the trades, health and safety was as they say a box-ticking exercise and through the education that's been provided through Site Safe, I've been able to see it in a broader sense and not just as a business owner but [also seeing] the accountability of employees and other tradesmen, allowing us to shift that mindset from box-ticking to genuine care and attention.” - Daniel Pidgeon, 2020 scholarship recipient