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LOcHER VIP photo


You may or may not have heard about the Learning Occupational Health by Experiencing Risks (LOcHER) Project which was originally a concept from Dr Bob Rajan, vice Chair of Safety Groups UK (SGUK) and HM Principal Inspector of Health and Safety with the HSE. It has historically been focused within colleges and further education.


I believe this is the future of learning in a creative and unique way, making it so much more memorable and allows for a much better understanding of the risks we face at work.


I really urge you, please check it out and see if you can help bring the concept more and more into the world of work. Even if you just help raise awareness of the projects being produced by sharing them, talking about them, getting in touch with those involved etc.

Safety Groups UK - LOcHER

Case studies -

Youtube videos of other projects -






I've been in the extremely privileged position of working with 17 amazing youngsters to launch LOcHER into an industry setting and I'd like to share a bit of that journey here in the hope it inspires others to keep it going.


Each year, the company I work for, TechnipFMC, takes in local school students (Career Ready) for a four week internship, university interns for summer and quite a few apprentices. The HSE department I work in (other departments also participate) takes in the interns for a few days each to give them invaluable experience of the world of work.


We always try and give the youngsters some real work tasks which have a proper output and benefits them and the company. When I first met the Career Ready interns, I had a nutty idea of asking the youngest of them (16 yrs old) to lead a 17 strong team of youngsters to create the first ever LOcHER project in an industry setting. Not only that, I wanted the group to launch LOcHER into TechnipFMC as a permanent part of our youngster's learning development plans. Obviously she said NO and was terrified! Four weeks later though, the scared young girl who wouldn't say boo to a ghost, was directing the group brilliantly and with confidence. Amazing.


It's not easy to do this justice by writing words here as the effect on our youngsters, my company and the LOcHER Project's community has been extraordinary.


These youngsters are inspirational. They see things differently, learn differently, have the bravery to be different and have a thirst for learning. The power of their work transfers through this thinking with enthusiasm and 'infects' those around them...they don't even know it!

What I will say is that there were 4 x Career Ready students (16 & 17 yrs old), 4 x university interns and 9 apprentices, 8 of which were shop floor based. I watched every single one of these youngsters push themselves outside their comfort zone in some way or another, from standing up in front of people to actually speak words, turning up to meetings with people they don't know, engaging with other employees throughout the project and using their talents creatively for the project.


I'm so inspired by these youngsters of their achievements and so very proud of them all. So, here's what they were given to start them off...


Scope of the project

  • go learn about LOcHER and do a project WITHOUT using PowerPoint, handouts, text books or any of the usual methods
  • you choose the topic
  • you have four weeks (I wanted this produced for the end of the school internship so they could see it through to completion)
  • take this blank piece of paper...away you go...


The topic they chose was one high on our agenda right now, mechanical lifting. However, they took it a bit further into 'drop zones' to educate people on how drop zones can be much larger than they think. Then they found props, learned about mechanical lifting and LOLER, held several meetings, laughed loads (and I mean loads) and presented the active learning project to a few people. Well, about 30 people.


We invited our leadership team, the youngster's mentors, managers, supervisors, employees along to the presentation. A bit of propaganda before the presentation to get people talking about it, asking what it was all about etc. Then we invited the original LOcHER steering group to the presentation and the local newspaper (Dunfermline Press). Yup, the youngsters loved me!



Five of the original LOcHER steering group VIPs

  • Robert Atkinson (@roberthwl) - Organisational Lead (Occupational Health and Safety) NHS Health Scotland, Health and Work Directorate, Healthy Working Lives
  • Dave Foy (@dfoy2) - Estates, Health & Safety Manager | Preston's College
  • Sandra Jane Grier (@ColDevNet) – Advisor - Learning, Teaching, Assessment and Attainment at College Development Network
  • Andy Cathro (@AndyCathroDandA) – Health and Safety Office at Dundee and Angus College
  • John Cairns (@JohnCairns55) – Director Cairns Consultancy, Secretary-Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Heritage Trust, Past Chairman of Safety Groups UK


The event was extremely successful to say the least. All of the youngsters worked as a team to produce a fantastic LOcHER package to share with others and they were each recognised with a formal certificate presented by Dave Foy of Preston's College. The package will be made available on the SGUK website as a case study over the next few weeks.


Story board of the LOcHER journey



The above photo shows the story board of the LOcHER journey


I've created a Twitter moment to try and capture some of the chatter in the lead up to and after the event, linked below. We worked out that the potential social media reach was approx. 400,000 views between tens of 1,000s of Twitter accounts.


Twitter moment direct LINK @hsfb


Twitter moment in pdf - LOcHER Project Launch at TechnipFMC Dunfermline


TechnipFMC LOcHER Steering Group



The amazing youngsters of TechnipFMC's LOcHER Team of 2018.


 LOcHER Steering Group Originals - Me & Sam


Some of the original LOcHER Steering Group members pictured above.


Left to right: Sandra Jane Grier; Dave Foy; Andy Cathro; Sam Mayor (TechnipFMC); Robert Atkinson; John Cairns; John Johnston (me) (TechnipFMC).



If you are interested in LOcHER, you can get in touch with any of the steering group members I've listed above, or myself and I'll point you in the right direction.


If you are a member of RoSPA and enter their awards, you have access to RoSPA's Awards Excellence Forum. All award entrants are encouraged to get involved with LOcHER. The impact it would have on that community will be huge and has the potential to spread worldwide.


RoSPA's Awards Excellence Forum -


Contact details


Awards Team
+44 (0)121 248 2090


Alternatively, get in touch via Twitter with Dr Karen McDonnell (@DrKMcDonnell) - Occupational Safety and Health Policy Advisor for @RoSPA, Immediate Immediate Past President of IOSH.


I'm also privileged to be the Chairperson of RoSPA's Scottish Awards Excellence Forum, so give me a shout if you want more information on what it's all about.


Get involved.