What made you first get into the health & safety sector of law?

I've been working in health and safety for about 10 years. It's an area I've always been interested in, it impacts everyone, whatever industry they work in. One of the aspects that initially drew me to it was the variety of work. I enjoy working in a role where providing the correct advice to a business can have a direct impact, whether that be preventing injury in the first place or assisting a business during a critical time.

Which aspects of the job do you find most rewarding?

Providing support to clients when a major incident has occurred. It's often a very difficult time for clients so providing assistance when dealing with regulators, such as the HSE, and investigating an incident is meaningful and rewarding. It's often fast-paced, with time critical work, such as gathering crucial evidence. I also assist clients with Fatal Accident Inquiries or criminal prosecution, as well as defending any injury claims as a result of an incident - so it's very much a case of being there for the client at every step.

What do you think is the main challenge that clients face in a H&S context?

Consistency of approach. The starting point for a business is to have good policies and procedures in place, which many do. However, it's the implementation of these policies that often proves problematic, with personnel interpreting matters differently, resulting in varying levels of health and safety standards being carried out in practice.

Businesses also need to ensure that employees are appropriately trained and that polices are enforced and reviewed. All too often initial policies, risk assessments, etc are created, yet the documents are not regularly reviewed to ensure they're still fit for purpose. This is crucial after an incident as it helps to identify any learning outcomes that should be implemented.

What attributes make a good H&S lawyer?

Being a team player is key as the majority of health and safety matters require a lawyer to work with other people. You also need - a solid knowledge base, an eye for detail and strong analytical and problem-solving skills.

For me, one of the most important attributes is being an effective communicator. A health and safety lawyer needs to communicate with various individuals, have the ability to actively listen, and be able to clearly explain processes and the law to people who may not be familiar with it.


Lynn Livesey

Legal Director