Getting to know Adam Bigwood, our Health & Safety Manager
Adam Bigwood, our former regional and now lead Health & Safety Manager talks to us about his progress in his 19 months with the business, his passion for his role, and what he gets up to when he’s not up to his neck in risk assessments.
So, Adam… what do you enjoy most about your role?
I love the fact that we get to support and influence all parts of the business. Each day is different and brings lots of challenges and opportunities.
What difference do you feel you’ve made during your time at Wolseley?
Compared to a large population of the business, my time so far has been short!
That said, I like to think that I have complemented the safety team and have brought a slightly different experience, knowledge and view - which I feel is important in a team, to have diversity in knowledge, opinions and experiences.
I have supported the business during the pandemic and have had to adapt and react on a daily, sometimes hourly basis (it has definitely been fast paced). My work of late has often involved very quickly digesting and understanding the guidance issued and then writing risk assessments or safety guidance documents to reflect this, to help ensure that colleagues and activities are COVID safe.
Who’s had the biggest influence on your career to date?
Each line manager over the years has influenced me in several different ways and they have all helped me to develop my skills and knowledge.
When I was managing a leisure centre, I had a visit from our Health & Safety Manager. It was our ‘turn’ to be audited and he turned up wearing an anorak and carrying a large clipboard (honestly!!). He walked around making lots of notes on his checklist, shaking his head muttering to himself whilst I walked him around the building. He wasn’t personable, didn’t interact with any of my team and at the end of the visit he said I would get the report in the post. We received the audit and it was 135 pages long! It wasn’t clear what we did right or wrong and it really confused me, with loads of tables, charts and quotes from health and safety legislations and laws.
I offered feedback to the H&S Dept and was told: “This is health and safety. It has always been like this and you will go to prison if you don’t deal with the audit.”
I thought to myself that this cannot be the only way to manage health and safety and started to look how I can get into a career in it. My mission was launched from that day, to change people’s perception of health and safety and to show that it doesn’t have to be all anoraks and clipboards!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Not advice which I have been given, but two quotes from Muhammad Ali which are real favourites of mine and are great pieces of advice in my opinion:
"A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life."
"The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
What in your life are you most proud of?
I know it is a ‘cliché’ but I am most proud of my family - especially how my children have taken COVID-19 in their stride. It is a different world for them, but they have accepted it and really worked hard on their schoolwork and have dealt with not seeing their friends in person, until recently.
They are much more receptive to change and just see the positive in everything. My wife has been amazing in juggling working from home, home schooling and applying to go back to university to train as a nurse - all during the pandemic. I am so proud to stand next to them all as their dad and husband.
What are your biggest hobbies away from Wolseley?
Apart from keeping my five children entertained, I am an active member of my son’s youth football club. I am Club Secretary and manage my eldest sons U15s team (have done since U7s!) Most of players are taller than me now!
What would your walkout music be if you were a boxer?
‘Tubthumping’ by Chumbawamba – “I get knocked down, but I get up again! you're never gonna keep me down!”