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Meet the VHNZ Team - Steve Ritson

30 March 2017

Meet the VHNZ Team - Steve Ritson

Steve is the Vertical Horizonz NZ Regional Training Manager for Taranaki. He is also a trainer in Industrial Safety and Health and Safety.

Steve's background includes serving with the Royal Marines Commando, Fire Fighter (New Zealand Fire Service), Ship Security Officer maintaining security of high profile vessels in the Indian Ocean and the oils and gas industry. His personal passion lies within the mountaineering and climbing (both professionally and recreationally) world bringing valuable rope skills and rescue to the Industrial rope access industry.

We asked Steve a little more about his experience and views on Health and Safety in New Zealand and Abroad:

Steve what is your first memory of the importance of safety?

I've always been aware of the importance of safety for myself and my workmates but I guess it only really hit home when I became a free-lance mountaineer and rock climber. All of a sudden I was responsible for a group of students on a mountain, in a blizzard in the Cairn Gorms in Scotland!! My planning and organising stepped up a mark to ensure the safety of the group but also ensuring that they got a great experience in the mountains regardless of weather.

What has surprised you most about working within Health and Safety, Industry training?

I am surprised at the differences in health and safety that various organisations take. Some being extremely good, ensuring that all members are safe, looked after and trained to a high standard whilst other companies still have very little to nothing in place and still believe in old attitudes of "She'll be alright, nothing's happened before, I've done it this way for 20 years!!"
Hopefully through awareness, networking and word of mouth we can get around all of these companies and make New Zealand a safer working environment.

What do you wish other people knew about safety in New Zealand?

That it's not the monster that people think it is!!! Health and safety is there to look out for us and keep us safe through training, experience, supervision and best practices in the work place regardless of what we are doing and trying to achieve. 

Tell me about something you've learnt while working at VHNZ?

How to use a computer!! (although some may still disagree!!)

What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?

I guess most people in VH now know that I was an Art Teacher and on courses this definitely opens a few eyes and asks a few questions!! Bit of a varied box of experience thrown in there to keep it real!!

If you were alone on a dessert island and could only take three items what would you take?

A list from Georgie (my partner) telling me what to do!!
After that, I guess some beer and music to entertain the long evenings and relax.
And finally a massive photo album of my family, friends, loved ones, characters Ive met and random things Ive done over the years so I can look back and have no regrets!! (whilst drinking the beer and listening to the music!!)

If you won lotto, what is the first thing you would buy?

I'd ask Georgie to make me a list!!

A house in Queenstown or Wanaka…sorry VH but you'd be dumped for the mountains!!