Burnout Behind the Scenes – Health & Safety Practitioners Under Pressure

Published On: March 31, 2022Categories: Behavioural & Change Management, Health & Safety

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The pandemic started as a whirlwind before evolving into a long-drawn-out storm. For many companies, Health & Safety practitioners became the first point of contact for the provision of advice, risk assessments and response, dramatically increasing their workload and stress. The two-year pandemic elevated the importance of Health and Safety to the forefront of business resilience and staff health. Ironically, this has meant that Health & Safety people have been under enormous emotional and physical pressure to keep their businesses going, often at the cost of their own wellbeing.

With the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us, we reflected on the experiences of the sector to identify unresolved issues. Most importantly, we focused on realistic solutions organisations have adopted to manage burnout amongst Health & Safety practitioners.

The event also contained a discussion from IOSH President, Louise Hosking, on the Catch the Wave Campaign, which focused on the role of people and safety at the heart of business resilience and social sustainability.

The Panellists

Louise Hosking, President of IOSH

Louise Hosking

President, IOSH

Louise Hosking became IOSH President in November 2021 with a theme of “People, Sustainability and Putting Heart into Health & Safety”. Her focus is around harnessing the power of modern leadership skills to focus on what good looks like and creating inclusive, psychologically safe organisations.

Louise is a first career Health & Safety Professional with more than 30yrs within the profession having worked across a number of sectors. She actively supports organisations to integrate Health & Safety as an enabler for their success.

Louise is a passionate Inclusion champion both within IOSH and outside of it. She is a co-founder of the OneWISH coalition: Women & Inclusion in Safety & Health. This is bringing networks together from around the world to encourage diversity of thought and to help with developing creative professionals’ representative of the modern world of work.

Ruth Denyer

Ruth Denyer

Co-President, IIRSM

Ruth is Co-President of IIRSM, and also the Director of Production Safety, at Netflix.

Previously, Ruth was Group Operational Risk Director at ITV where she built the approach to operational risk management across the Group and specifically both the Group Health and Safety and Insurance functions.

Ruth graduated with a degree in occupational health and safety in 1997, and her first role at the National Theatre was followed by a brief stint at KPMG and then the Prince’s Trust before moving to ITV in 2004. Her current role supports in the delivery of a risk management approach for a global, constantly growing, and changing business where no two productions ever have the same risk profile.

Michael Bryne

Michael Byrne

Group Head of Health & Safety, News UK

Michael Byrne is the Group Head of Health & Safety at NewsUK, responsible for driving H&S governance, crisis management, and overall mental wellbeing strategy across the organisation.

Previously, Michael has worked as Health, Safety, and Risk Advisor for a number of organisations like ITV, Apple, and Marks & Spencers.

Michael comes with years of experience in coaching stakeholders on duty of care, and increasing their risk appetite while ensuring mental wellness. Michael is also a Chartered Member of IOSH status.


  • Reflections – Taking a step back and reflecting on the key difficulties the Health & Safety professionals have faced over the past two years
  • Shared Experiences – How organisations have disrupted and evolved by putting in place Health & Safety best practices at work both from management perspective (resourcing, technologies, new systems etc) to wellbeing (time off, peer-to-peer discussions, professional support, cross industry forums etc)
  • Role of Pandemic – How the pandemic has changed the position of HSE in organisations and will it last?
  • Lessons Learned – Advice from the panellists and what still needs to change
  • Human Capital and Resilience – Panellists to discuss the road to renewal and the way forward to manage Health & Safety at work. Louise Hosking to discuss IOSH’s ‘Catch the Wave’ Campaign and harnessing the power of social sustainability

The Chair

Colin Pereira -RiskPal Co-Founder

Colin Pereira

Co-Founder, RiskPal

Featuring: ‘Catch the Wave with IOSH’

‘Catch the Wave’ is a global movement that encourages businesses to focus on occupational safety, health and wellbeing practices as the foundation for a socially sustainable business, delivering better outcomes for workers around the world, which translates into stronger performance and growth.

IOSH President, Louise A Hosking, discussed the ‘Catch the Wave’ campaign and the role of people, communities and supply chains at the heart of business resilience.

Catch the Wave with IOSH- Webinar for Health & Safety Professionals

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