A healthy career in engineering
Indigo Career Path Q&A with Dave Healy, Head of SHEQ (Safety, Health, Environmental and Quality)
After leaving the army, Dave took his first job in the communications industry and decided to pursue a career in health and safety. In 2012, he completed a Higher Diploma at University College Cork and never looked back. He joined 4site, now part of Indigo, and in 2018 became Head of SHEQ (Safety, Health, Environmental and Quality), managing a team across the Indigo’s global operations.
Has your army background helped in your career?
Yes, definitely. I joined the Royal Corp of Signals from school to get a trade. They trained me in communications and information systems at an exciting time in the industry – I remember one of my colleagues leaving to join a fibre company. Apart from the technical training, the army gives you the confidence and communication skills to stand up in front of a people. And it might sound like a cliché, but it encourages teamwork and a drive to get things done.
When did you decide to specialise in SHEQ?
I left the army in 2008, came home to Ireland where I got a job in a telecom engineering company, upgrading a mobile network to 3G. I had a career choice to make and was trying to decide on project manager or build manager. At that time the Health and Safety manager was looking to promote someone internally and I was interested. It sounded different. When they offered to send me on the UCC course in Safety, Health and Welfare at Work it was a no brainer.
What took you to Indigo?
When my Health and Safety manager left my previous company, I was interviewed and lucky enough to get the job. A few years later, 4site approached me about a SHEQ manager role. The company had such a good reputation in the industry in Ireland that it was an easy decision to make. 4site became part of Indigo and I was made Head of SHEQ.
What does jour job involve?
A lot of the day-to-day would be spent with project coordinators, looking over their work and the documents they send to crew and clients for approval. I would do that on multiple projects throughout the day. I might also be helping with a tender. A lot of it is standard health and safety policy, but some of it can be quite vague so it’s important to know the regulations inside out.
Does Indigo’s global footprint present any challenges?
Yes, we’re often moving into new jurisdictions with different health and safety regulations that we’ve got to be compliant with. There can be language difficulties and lots of bureaucracy and things sometimes get lost in translation. We have a lot of the internationally recognised ISO certifications, so there’s always a good baseline. Having them in place certainly helps sell Indigo services internationally.
What do you like most about the work?
I like the flexibility. I can get out to a site if needed, go to the office, or work from home. It ties in nicely with my family life. I also like the unpredictability, which is just as well. A lot of my time can be dictated by somebody else’s actions on site. If there’s an accident or incident, I drop everything. Timing is critical because you have to collect all the information about what happened as soon as possible and inform clients and the board of directors.
What personal skills are a good fit for health and safety work?
Organisational skills and time management are big ones. You have to be able to balance projects and prioritise because everyone’s looking for health and safety input. Attention to detail is another one, particularly on high-risk projects where you have multiple trades on site – riggers, crane operators, electricians – that you have think about.
What are the biggest challenges?
Technology is always changing and bringing new challenges. From a rigging point of view, the new 5G antennas are really heavy, for example, so it’s not like the old days where a guy with a rope and a pulley could lift it onto the tower. You need a full rigging system with brakes. Risk assessing something like that is part of the job. It’s also up to me to make sure sales and HR teams keep their health and safety policies up to date, that we always do what we say we’ll do as a company.
How do you like Indigo as an employer?
I enjoy working for them because the leadership team genuinely cares about the staff. And the health and safety culture is very strong. People talk about a top-down culture, where it’s driven by the board, but it’s actually driven up in Indigo. Our people at the coalface dictate how our policies are developed and that’s the way it should be, because they’re the ones facing the risks. They feed those risks back up to the management system, which is much better than me sitting in an office telling someone how they should do their job.
Want to know more?
If you are interested in developing your career with Indigo, please get in touch today.