Tor Bennett Williams, a health and safety advisor at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth, has stressed that health and safety were essential to achieving successful Commonwealth games.
Williams, who is part of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) team which has spent 12 months preparing for the Games, taking place in Birmingham, UK, from 28 July to 08 August said for him, it’s a dream job combining his passions for athletics and OSH.
With thousands of athletes representing 72 nations and territories in 19 different sports, and an estimated global viewing audience of 1.5 billion, staging the XXII Commonwealth Games is no small task.
And he’s achieved his own ‘gold medal’ in the build-up – IOSH Chartered status. During the countdown to the Games, 24-year-old Tor has been looking after non-competition sites. This includes hotels for competitors and guests, warehouses and transport depots as well as the athletes’ training venues.
He also has responsibility for training and corporate inductions – making him the ‘face’ of OSH –along with duties ranging from risk assessments to supporting workers’ wellbeing.
“It’s about looking after the people behind the scenes, and I’ve absolutely loved it. Athletics is something that’s very personal and close to my heart,” said Williams, who has represented the University of Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Bilston Athletics Club, and Birchfield Harriers at the 400 metres.
When the Games begin, his attention will switch to monitoring, site inspections and providing guidance if required. “The hard work will be done by then,” he added.
His partner, Laura Zialor, is competing in the high jump for England. While Williams has been into sports since school, he developed an interest in OSH after graduating in Environmental Science in summer 2019.
With two graduate offers to choose from, he picked an environmental health and safety internship with a healthcare company.
“I really enjoyed the health and safety aspect and fell in love with OSH,” Williams added.
He took a level 6 diploma and IOSH Managing Safely course to build his skills and qualifications. He landed a role in health, safety and environmental compliance with a paper manufacturing company and joined IOSH as an associate member.