Hi, I'm Alex Burbidge
I've been leading and managing health and safety for several years now and I enjoy teaching and consulting in a practical and no fluff way.
What makes me different:
If you're tired of complex legal jargon, and health and safety experts whose only function is to stop you working, you're in the right place.
Pro Safety Management is about empowering you.
No more unnecessary paperwork
Health and Safety often seems to be just about bureaucracy. That's the "cover your arse" approach, which is founded in fear of criticism or penalty. But the truth is, a piece of paper never saved a life.
We focus on building trust, relationships and skills.
Taking Risks = Results
Providing health and safety services shouldn't be primarily about money. It's about caring for people and helping businesses grow. We aim to find the balance between the risk of failure and the risk of success. When you understand that risk is part of life, you can take a positive approach to the risks you need to face.
Here are a few things about me:
- I failed school because I was more interested in practical things than memorizing theoretical concepts. I was more focused on helping others reach their potential, so I decided to stop forcing it and find my real passion.
- In the early 1990s, I became an apprentice car mechanic. This was a stop-gap, but it taught me that often people working at the grass routes level hold the key to helping businesses grow and become safer and more profitable.
- In 1998, my father persuaded me to study a degree in Safety, Health and Environmental Management. I wasn't sure it was the right choice until I realised it was about helping businesses transform from just thinking about profits, to thinking about people.
- After leaving university, I wanted to get plenty of experience in high-risk industries. I took roles at Shell UK, Costain Construction, Serco Defense and Aerospace, Vodafone and O2.
- My last corporate role was an 11-year stint at O2, where I became UK and Group Head of Health and Safety at the age of 36. This was a fantastic experience where I developed skills in leadership, management and strategy.
- In 2018 I left O2 to start Pro Safety Management and Bigsmiles. Both brands are all about helping people and businesses reach their potential without damaging their reputation or people.
I mention all this here, to clarify that when I talk about health and safety, I do so from actual experience. I'm not a health and safety trainer who's only experience is teaching health and safety.
My underlying philosophy is all about trusted relationships and developing skills.
Highly successful businesses know that when people feel trusted, they can use their skills to deliver valued services and products. Strong policies, procedures and training can only get you so far – there is simply no substitute for trust.
I apply this philosophy to everything I do in life, whether it be in my personal life, hobbies or public speaking, and it has served me well.
What is Pro Safety Management About?
The foundation of any serious business is about taking risks in the right way. Health and safety doesn't mean eliminating all risks. In fact, life is full of risks.
Take the Red Bull Storm Chase which puts the best windsurfers in the world against the most extreme conditions.
Imagine yourself in their shoes.
The biggest storm of all time with the biggest opportunity to prove you’re the best windsurfer on the planet.
Gale force winds, 60ft waves and driving rain. This is the big one. This is the make or break opportunity.
Here’s your chance to realise your potential. Achieve life-changing sponsorship to help your career and your family.
The fear of total failure starts creeping in.
If you haven’t planned, you won't have the best team around you to help navigate those risks, so you’ll get wiped out.
Costing you everything.
I can help you make decisions which are safe for your staff and your business.
You should also know that some risks are worth taking but only when you have trusted systems, training and relationships, which is what I do.
With my help, you have the freedom to accomplish your goals without fear. Any place. Any time. Any business. Any client.
That’s why on this site, we cover the basics of health and safety, along with the practical solutions to your problems - risk assessment being one of them.
Here are a few posts that can give you a good idea of what to expect on Pro Safety Management:
Least Likely to Succeed: My Story
You know how you read about health and safety people who hide behind paperwork and tell you to control every risk to the point of zero harm. The kinds of people who use fear as a tool to remove your ability to manage your own risks.
Well, I have never been like this. My first job as a car mechanic was working with a time served Rolls Royce technician from London. He showed me that experience and skill was more than enough for him to manage risk. Our jobs could be a full engine rebuild to a small service. It didn't matter what job came in; Nigel never looked at a risk assessment. He just slowly took him time to make sure he was safe and that when he wanted to take risks, he did so in a controlled manner.
In 1998 I went to university to make a significant change in my life. I wasn't the best mechanic. My engineering grades were poor, but more importantly, I was fed up.
University offered the change to use my mind in a different way. I was also going to be away from home and get the experience of being totally independent. Studying health and safety law for 3 years wasn't exactly on my bucket list, but it proved that if you apply yourself, you can achieve anything.
So, within 4 years, I went from being unable to write an essay to being one of the top students in the year.
The Grind Begins...
After leaving university, I entered the world of health and safety management. I had jobs working on construction sites, warehouses, film studios and military bases. At 25, I remember a construction worker throwing a shovel at me when I asked him for his risk assessment. Being verbally bashed by a regional construction director when I openly reported the unsafe lifting of a steel beam on a scissor lift which was highly dangerous but it was my fault for not working with the site team. That feeling of being the bad guy. The safety person who added no value really hurt me.
In fact, my mindset at the time was; it's a job which pays the bills and happiness doesn't come from your job but the weekend and partying.
To say I struggled would be an understatement.
Climbing the corporate ladder
After learning the harsh reality that my popularity on construction sites is mostly 'marmite' I decided to move towards a career working for the corporations that funded those construction sites. The ones who had the power to make a difference to people working in shops, offices, warehouses and mobile engineers working across the globe.
Companies like Vodafone, Serco and O2 gave me the chance to really help everyone at any level. Sure there was politics, power struggles and cuts, but this was nothing compared to working in a cold dark workshop swinging spanners or being verbally roasted by a disgruntled sub-contractor who's just lost his 3% margin.
Within 10 years, I had climbed the ladder. Along the way, I had worked with some really smart colleagues who taught me that what really matters is your own attitude to life. That the fear of failure is the major thing that will hold you back from achieving your potential. And the late Dr Don Card told me to accept yourself for whom you are, including all in imperfections - don't even try and be perfect.
With the backing of all these smart people, I was suddenly leading a department responsible for health and safety, international standards, security certifications, business continuity and quality. On that day, I had a small team of 15 highly qualified professionals who were terrific at their jobs.
It was at this point that I needed a new challenge.
Launching Pro Safety Management
At this point, I started to feel somewhat competent. I had learnt from my earlier blunders and built up a strong mindset that gave the ability to work with people at any level in any organisation. However, I wanted to return to support businesses and people at the grass routes level that needed help.
With Pro Safety Management, I use the expert knowledge I gained at a high level and deliver it in a practical no-fluff way to businesses. We aim to re-define how health and safety training is delivered. We strive to bring Health and Safety back to the people and culture of a company.
Free Health and Safety policy and Guide.
Yes, I want Alex to send me a free health and safety policy and guide