Our stakeholder managers enjoy getting out and about to meet our members. Katie Healy (Midlands & Wales) caught up with Transport for Wales and some of its suppliers at a recent event.

CIRAS stakeholder manager Katie Healy

Above: Katie Healy

I always jump at the opportunity to be able to get out and meet our members face to face, whether frontline workers, office staff or management. 

I recently had a stand at Transport for Wales’ (TfW) safety stand-up day in Wales – which brought together suppliers to give TfW staff the opportunity to meet them.  Although my invite came from Seilwaith Amey Cymru/Amey Infrastructure Wales, the other main contractors working on TfW’s infrastructure projects were also involved, including Balfour Beatty, Siemens and Alun Griffiths.  

Why was I invited?  Amey saw the benefit of giving me the opportunity to talk directly to people about their awareness of CIRAS and their wider reporting options, why raising concerns is important and about how, when and why they can raise concerns.  I was able to clarify the role CIRAS plays alongside other reporting channels, dispel some myths and explain how it works.   

I spoke to staff from the frontline and from across the business, who wanted to understand CIRAS and how we work with our members to share learning from across our membership.   

From my perspective, attending events like this is important.  It is good to speak directly to our members, to better understand their day jobs, what issues are important to them, what we do well and what we don’t.  For me to do my job effectively, talking to people and getting feedback and suggestions is essential. 

As a wide range of other CIRAS members were also present – including Total Rail Solutions, Speedy, and High Motive – I was able to talk with them too, finding out what initiatives are taking place, any new innovations, and looking for possibilities for shared learning or future collaboration.   

I can read articles and keep up-to-date with members’ newsletters but there is no real substitute for meeting people to really understand the environment our members operate in and the challenges they face. 

An unexpected bonus was getting to have a go at operating Total Rail Solutions’ plant equipment (closely supervised)!  Working in a non-operational role, I get a real insight into what it takes to operate this type of machinery – and the associated challenges and issues – from talking to the people who do this every day.  

Total Rail Solutions machinery demonstration at Transport for Wales and suppliers safety event 2021

Above: Total Rail Solutions' demonstration at the event

While we may not have eye-catching machinery on our stand, we can promise a good conversation, where we can explain why speaking up is important and the value it can add.  Inviting CIRAS to speak to your staff in this way helps to demonstrate a genuine commitment in encouraging an open and honest culture, and gives us the opportunity to explain how it really works, how it fits with other reporting channels and when it is best used. 

Top tip:  Bring sun cream – it was unexpectedly sunny in Wales and I was caught unprepared. I learnt my lesson for day two and for future events! 

If you are hosting a safety day, health and wellbeing day, staff conference or any event – please invite us along – speak to your stakeholder manager to arrange this.  We can present to staff or run a CIRAS stand and be available to chat to anyone who is interested to find out more. 

CIRAS exhibition stand at Transport for Wales and suppliers safety event 2021

Above: CIRAS stand at the Transport for Wales event