Getting to know the HSE People Panel: Part Two – Brendon Ireland

What did you want to grow up to be when you were a child?

Since I was 5 years old I’ve always wanted to be a chef. It all started from my 5 year old bedtime of 7pm. Naturally being young I wanted to stay up as long as possible so I conned my parents by saying “I want to watch ready steady cook as I want to be a chef”. Ready steady cook started at 7pm so this gave me the opportunity to stay out of bed for an extra 30 minutes. 

After a couple of months of actually watching the show I was hooked. And that’s how I began my culinary journey. 

How do you think the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted on people’s perception of health and safety?

From my perspective I see a major change in hand hygiene. Although I am noticing more effective handwashing techniques, I am seeing far too much alcohol gels being used. If you have the option to either wash your hands with soap and water or with alcohol/antibacterial gel, Always go for soap and water. It is just as effective at removing bacteria and viruses and is less harsh on the skin. I am concerned of the potential dermatitis increase from excess gel usage. 

Who would you like to play you in a film of your life?

It would have to be a versatile actor such as Miles Teller.   

What is your greatest career strength?

Easily adaptable to new environments & engaging with new people.  

What is your favourite tipple (alcoholic/non-alcoholic drink)?

If it’s a special occasion I will have a Black Velvet . When it’s a casual meet with friends or days out watching football I’ll probably have a cider. 

Where do you see the industry going in the future?

The ‘back to work’ over the next year will be difficult. Many companies/businesses will have taken a big financial loss over the pandemic, and it’s no secret Health and Safety spending is not  at the top of the list either.  After a couple of years I expect standards to return to pre-pandemic levels. Moving on into the future I think we’re very close to a good health and safety culture throughout. Even now although there’s the normal quote of “health and safety gone mad!”, Peoples natural culture tell them ‘not to mess with electrics’ and ‘drive on the correct side of the road’ without supervision or instruction. 

I would  love to see a change in the mentality of Health and safety, As we are very legal conscious. A shift from “what are the legal/financial ramifications of this happening” to “what is the health/life costs?” should always be the priority. 

What is the worst part of your job?

Tax returns 

Do you reply to work emails over the weekend and/or holidays?

Well I normally work weekends (Thank heavens for the Hospitality sector). Usually if I’m on holiday I will setup a reply function on emails to everyone knows I’m on annual leave. I will still read them and if it’s an urgent matter (Such as a food poisoning outbreak) I will drop everything to help the situation. 

Thank you so much Brendon, it’s great to find out more about you.

Brendon is now established as a food safety trainer ensuring to offer the very best training whilst also working closely with businesses to maintain standards or looking at gaining SALSA accreditation. Recently he also began leading a monthly virtual food safety discussion group where they learn about new things in the food safety world, and also have a nominated subject of discussion.

If you would like to ask Brendon or another member of the HSE People Panel a question get in touch –