1. Tell us about a day in the life of a Health and Safety lawyer.

A working day can involve almost anything and that's one of my favourite things about the job. Some of the more 'unusual' days have involved climbing onto the road deck of the Queensferry crossing whilst it was still under construction; meeting with clients on a large fishing vessel in the Outer Hebrides (and seeing some of the incredible local wildlife as an added bonus).

On other days, I might be appearing in court or preparing for court appearances. I also attend client premises to assist them with managing the aftermath of an incident. Other days involve meetings with clients, witnesses, the Health and Safety Executive, or other regulators, and/or negotiating with the prosecution.

2. Why did you become a H&S lawyer?

It happened a bit "by accident" (sorry!) I trained and worked defending personal injury claims on behalf of insurers for several years. There weren't many lawyers with specific health and safety law (the criminal side) expertise at that time. I found the work very interesting as I really enjoy getting my teeth into the detail of a case.

I particularly enjoy getting to meet different clients, learn about their businesses and gain experience and understanding of different business sectors. Over the years health and safety has risen up the boardroom agenda, and rightly so.

The courts across the UK now impose significantly higher penalties for breaches of the law, and we have seen a steady increase in the number of managers and directors being personally prosecuted, either in addition to or instead of the corporate body. What used to be considered a "slap on the wrist" type of case has evolved into one where the impacts can be very serious.

I want to do what I can to ensure my clients are able to legitimately protect their interests and that of their business.

3. What are the benefits to clients of having our 'Health and Safety by Brodies' app?

Being able to share it for free with their whole workforce! The app is free and updated weekly with relevant content. I also think the checklists to complete following an incident – which can be emailed around your team – is a great benefit.

4. What three things can't you do your job without?

First – Google maps: Often I am heading to a location that I haven't visited before (or might not have a recognisable address yet). Also the what3words app is a great tool - especially when meeting clients on rural sites.

Second – my "grab bag": I have one packed for those last minute, 'drop everything' calls. It contains a (warm, waterproof) hi-vis jacket, hard hat, safety boots/goggles etc. In incident response the days can be long and, in Scotland, often wet and windy!

Third – a steady but adaptable approach to work – things can develop very quickly in the aftermath of incidents, and you need to be able to take it in our stride, as much as possible.

5. Is there a case that stands out for you?

The cases I remember most are the ones where the people made the biggest impression on me, I have been lucky to work with some fantastic clients. The high-profile cases are always memorable and interesting to reflect on, but I most enjoy feeling that I have made a difference, really helped a client business or individual and happily, I can say I have definitely done that on more than one occasion.


Victoria Anderson

Senior Associate