Speaking with Helen Davies, Head of Health & Food Safety

1 May 2024

In celebration of World Day for Safety and Health at Work, we caught up with Helen Davies, Head of Health & Food Safety to learn more about her role and how health and safety policies are successfully implemented and measured.

Please can you introduce yourself and describe your role and responsibilities within WSH.

I am Head of Safety for Searcys, Searcys Events, Party Ingredients, WSH Restaurants and Portico. As Head of Safety, I am responsible for all things safety. This includes identifying hazards, and their associated risks that may affect our teams or guests. Whilst these fabulous businesses are all different, the continual promotion of the importance of a great safety culture is a core value for all. Teams that Think Safe, Act Safe will ultimately Be Safe.

How has your role within Searcys and Portico evolved over the years, especially in light of changing health and safety regulations and standards?

When I look back at the last 9 years that I have been in this role I think WOW. Whilst the key principles of Safety have remained constant over the years, the Coronavirus, our businesses re opening post pandemic, and legislation changes have required continual safety guidance and support to our managers and their teams.

What would you say are the key components of a successful health and safety culture within Guest Services?

Strong management and leadership in our catering and guest services is key, along with team buy in to our safety pillars, values and House Rules. Team members are required to think and work safely independent of management. The identification and development of dedicated Safety Champions at every site or venue has definitely had a positive impact in all aspects of Safety.

Can you tell us about some of the training programmes in place surrounding health and safety within Portico?

All Portico Safety Champions have been allocated enhanced H&S and where relevant food safety training so they have the knowledge to guide and advise the teams on site.

How do you measure the effectiveness of our health and safety programmes?

The true measurement is that safety and the protection of our teams, guests and customers is truly valued by all.

What would you say is the key to success is in implementing health and safety within the workplace?

I passionately believe that as Head of Safety I must be seen as the go to person for guidance and support in all things safety. Health and safety initiatives must inspire and motivate the teams to be as safe as they can.

It is very important that I am not seen as the safety or food police!