Celebrating #GLAD 2021 with Andy Priest
Andy Priest is a Senior Site Manager for Osprey Group. His career started in the 80s, as a trainee crane operator on a 1972, 15-tonne Grove. It was a very different time and, as Andrew points out, people viewed health and safety in a very different way. “I can remember steel erectors walking the steel without any PPE or safety measures, and the only qualification for a crane operator was a car licence.
With my normal car licence, I could drive any size of crane on the road – everything from a 6-tonne Iron Fairy, right up to a 1,000-tonne road mobile – complete madness. It’s one of the reasons why GLAD, as a day in its own right, is such a good idea – the industry’s come a long way. We all need to recognise the value of high standards, and how important lifting best practice has always been.”
Over the last 30 years, Andrew held many different positions in the industry. Everything from a crane operator, working with Allelys Heavy Haulage; a heavy ballast truck driver, workshop manager, SPMT co-ordinator, and major project planner. Working with Osprey’s Heavy Lift team as a Senior Site Manager, Andrew looks after a wide range of critical infrastructure projects, all of which benefit from this great variety of hands-on experience. Projects like King Arthur’s Bridge at Tintagel, the Kegworth Bypass Bridge over the M1 at Donnington, and our work at Hinkley Point C. Coming full circle, Andrew is the lead operator for our LTM 1800 crane, which comes with huge responsibility.
“Whoever you are, whether you’re at the top of your game in a hands-on job or you’re back at base, running the company, in this industry – every day is a school day. Safety has to be the first lesson. None of us are too old to learn something new, whether it’s from a video we’ve watched in an induction, something we’ve seen on site, or something we’ve read about the equipment we’re using and the projects we’re working on. It may sound strange, but there’s real satisfaction in working like this – most of our projects are unique – and getting a really tricky plan to come together, knowing you’ve got everyone’s back in term of safety and risks.”
“Completing a complex tray lift with a luffer, for example, or getting a tight access rig into place is one thing – but training or sharing what we know with other people is where we really find it rewarding. Every day, there’s something different to work on; I’m always talking to engineers, operators, co-ordinators and managers about what’s going on, what’s happening, and how we’re adapting what we know from experience to make sure each job goes to plan. We talk about working better, together; one of the reasons I think we all enjoy working for Osprey and in this industry, is there’s a real sense of achievement we get by, well, just doing that. We’re never blasé about it – it’s all about safety first, going home safely at the end of every day.”