Speakers Announced for Safer Highways Online Mental Health Report Summit

Safer Highways is pleased to announce the speaker line up for its online summit to unveil the results of its second annual report into standards around the provision of support in the field of workplace mental health.

The road to wellbeing is an approach and set of ideals for delivering occupational health and wellbeing within the highways sector. The model, from Safer Highways, is of guidance and provides a framework under four strategic headings to support the sector by developing a leading approach to the management of Occupational Health and Wellbeing. This guidance will support national strategies and guidance as well as a number of legal requirements regarding employment, including employers' duty of care as well as satisfying best practice guidance such as the basic core mental health standards in the Thriving to work review by Stevenson and Farmer.

Taking place on Wednesday 2nd December we are delighted to be able to announce the following speakers…

Karl Simons Chief Health, Safety & Wellbeing Officer, Thames Water

A passionate and innovative leader with over 30 years experience in industry that holds a senior management position with direct responsibility for health, safety & Security. Highly motivated and self-directed, with strong leadership skills, presently supporting a business with in excess of 15,000 people in the Water Industry.

My experience spans from having worked on all 5 continents in the on & offshore oil and gas, minerals, rail, roads, construction and manufacturing industries.

Professor Dame Carol Black

Professor Dame Carol Black is currently Chair of the British Library, the Centre for Ageing Better, and Think Ahead, the Government’s fast-stream training programme for Mental Health Social Workers. She chairs NHS Improvement’s Advisory Board on Employee Health and Wellbeing, and is Adviser to NHSI and PHE on Health and Work. She is also a member of RAND Europe’s Council of Advisers, and of the Board of UKActive.

She recently completed her seven-year term as Principal of Newnham College Cambridge, where she was a Deputy Vice-Chancellor. She still sits on the University’s Advisory Board for the Centre of Science and Public Policy, and the Strategy Board on Student Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Dame Carol has completed three independent reviews for the UK Government: of the health of the working-age population in 2008 as National Director for Health and Work; of sickness absence in Britain in 2011 as co-chair; and of employment outcomes of addiction to drugs or alcohol, or obesity, in 2016. In February 2019 the Home Secretary announced that Dame Carol would lead an independent review on illicit drugs, demand, supply and treatment.

Professor Black is a past-President of the Royal College of Physicians, of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, and of the British Lung Foundation, and past-Chair of the Nuffield Trust for health policy. The Centre she established at the Royal Free Hospital in London is internationally renowned for research and treatment of connective tissue diseases such as scleroderma. She has recently been a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery.

Bill Hill: Chief Executive, Lighthouse Construction Industry charity

Bill gained over 20 years’ experience holding senior positions in blue chip giants Hewlett-Packard and Sage PLC. He has a passion for customer service and has a wealth of experience across the major business disciplines of marketing, sales, operations and finance. Bill trained as an accountant and holds diplomas from INSEAD, Cranfield University as well as CIMA qualifications. Most recently Bill qualified as a Mental Health First Aid instructor.

He joined the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity in 2013 and since then has played a major role in significantly growing the profile and significance of its charitable work within the construction community. The charity now operates a 24/7 Industry Helpline, it has also developed a construction focused Health and Wellbeing APP and plays a central role in Building Mental Health, the construction industry’s key mental health awareness and support programme.

“There is a big difference between doing things right and doing right things. Developing a strategy to support positive mental health in our industry is the right thing to do! If you look after your people ... your people will look after your business.”

Simon Blake OBE is Chief Executive of leading social enterprise, Mental Health First Aid England (

MHFA England has a vision to improve the mental health of the nation and a mission to train 1:10 of the adult population in mental health knowledge and skills. We have currently trained 1:67 including a significant number of Mental Health First Aiders in the Highways Sector.

Simon is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute and was awarded his OBE in 2011 for services to the voluntary sector and young people. He is a dog lover and has a dog called Dolly, a horse lover with a horse called Boris and a reluctant runner.

Through the “Road to Better Wellbeing”, it is our aspiration to significantly improve the level of physical and mental wellbeing and the work environment in which our employees work and develop a specific industry wide standard for all. 

The “Road to Better Wellbeing “is a three- year plan which provides a support network to help our supply chain to ensure legal compliance, achieve best practice and demonstrate maturity in Occupational Health and Wellbeing Management. It will be supported by free resources made accessible on a hub/portal for all the supply chain to use arranged in a clearly defined pathway. At the same time, we also will be working with the Tier 1 contractors to amend their contractual terms to lower tiers to support them rather than be a requirement to deliver. There is just one week left to complete our Thriving at Work Survey, click here to complete it.

Once again the Online Report Summit will be chaired by the patron of our road to wellbeing programme Karl Simons Chief Health, Safety & Wellbeing Officer of Thames Water the event will signify the culmination of our annual drive to improve support in the area in mental health for those we put to work.

Places are strictly limited to 150 for what will be the opportunity to have a first glance at how the highways and construction sector have improved in the field of mental health.

Click here to register

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