A MAN who has had two near death misses was inspired to set up his own business – a health and safety consultancy.
Martyn Weeks, 52, of FRS in St Anne’s in Bristol, is now celebrating the firm’s 15th anniversary – and knows first-hand the dangers of undue care and attention.
The first incident took place when he was working as a church bell ringer at St Barnabus Church in Warmley, while he was a teenager.
He pulled too hard on the rope – causing the bell to spin – and the chord wrapped around his neck.
Martyn quickly put his hand under the rope to stop it from choking it him – but then it got caught around his foot and pulled him 30 feet off the ground while upside down.
Martyn hit the ceiling then came crashing down to the ground. Fortunately his late father caught him, breaking the fall, and Martyn escaped with just a small bump on his head.
Martyn’s mother, Dian, said: “He was trying to prevent the rope from going round his neck and it wrapped itself around his leg instead. It was very frightening but we are lucky he lived to tell the tale.”
Second near death miss
Martyn later completed a five year apprentice as a mechanic with the Bristol Omnibus Company in Lawrence Hill, which later became Bristol Engineering Ltd.
He went onto work as an aircraft engineer for British defence giant BAE Systems and aeroplane manufacturer Airbus, both in Filton and Toulouse.
It was during his time in France that he had a head on collision with a lorry on a country road, at the age of 24.
Martyn saw the lorry coming towards him and slammed on the brakes but skidded on cow pat on the road and veered straight into the vehicle.
He had another lucky escape – getting out of the car with just a scrape on his cheek.
Martyn said: “The shock hit me later and I couldn’t move. I woke up to the fact that as humans we are fragile and we need to take care of ourselves and others.”
Health and safety breach
It was during work in an engineering role in the UK that Martyn became more aware of health and safety in the workplace.
A prohibition notice was put in place at the firm he worked at after a health and safety officer visited the site – discovering regulations had been breached.
The notice stopped the company from finishing vehicles for two months while safety measures were brought up to scratch.
Martyn, who now has over 20 years’ experience in health and safety across various industries, said: “This incident really affected the company’s bottom line as they couldn’t deliver vehicles during this period. But in many ways they got off lightly as no one was hurt.”
At this time he had a chance conversation with a colleague, who was studying to be a health and safety consultant, and decided to retrain.
Martyn said: “We tend to think ‘it will never happen’ but unfortunately accidents are a regular occurrence. I like the sense of helping to protect people from needless harm.”
FRS was founded in 2004 and includes Martyn and a team of five qualified health and safety specialists.
The team now work with a range of clients – from the business owner taking on their first client to large corporations.
It includes a small cleaning company in Emersons Green, Bristol, and a South Korean firm installing a popular van production line in a world leading vehicle manufacturing plant.
Martyn said: “Health and safety measures are put in place to protect you, your staff and anyone visiting. It’s a legal requirement as soon as you take on an employee or if members of the pubic are affected by your undertakings .
“Failure to do so can result in hefty fines, the inability to work and possibly even the injury or death of someone. We work with firms to take away the stress and give them peace of mind.”