It’s not all hard hats and clipboards
Merlin’s Health & Safety chief is changing perceptions of safety at Merlin
Dominic Wigley, Merlin’s Health & Safety Director, is a rare breed. He’s one of a few who have embarked on a career in health and safety right from the very start. “It’s fascinated me since school”, he says. “It’s about finding solutions to protect and safeguard in today’s ever-changing world.”
After roles in the broadcast and engineering sectors, Dominic joined us at Merlin in the autumn of 2014. While the discipline has always been a top priority at Merlin, there is always room for enhancements, and Dominic set out a range of initiatives as part of a strategy of continuous improvement.
Has he always liked roller coasters? “Not so much when I was younger, but I love them now. Every time I visit one of our attractions, I also find time to go on a ride or a coaster. ‘Product familiarisation’ I call it!”
Inspiration in his role has come from another source - Mo Farah CBE, the British distance runner. “He’s someone I admire for his pure dedication to his chosen career and his pursuit (and achievement) of the highest of goals - multiple Olympic, World and European champion and arguably the UK's greatest ever athlete. We were also neighbours.” It helps him focus on his own personal rewards. “The biggest satisfaction I get is helping colleagues overcome perceived challenges and find solutions to complex health and safety issues”, he says.
In June 2015 an accident on The Smiler ride at Alton Towers put the importance of health and safety into sharp relief. Since then Merlin has been resolute in not letting anything of this nature happen again, accelerating the Health, Safety and Security programme and embedding a culture where everybody in the company understands their role in Protecting the Magic. “We have an army of people out there doing these wonderful jobs on a day to day basis. They are our frontline ambassadors for safety. We want to make sure that they feel empowered to do that role successfully.”
Read Dominic's Interview with Blooloop, the news website for the attraction industry.