FYLD appoints health and safety leader to executive team

FYLD, the digital platform that transforms the ability of field workers and businesses to make real-time, data-driven decisions to enhance safety, productivity and quality, has appointed Karl Simons OBE as Executive Director – Health, Safety & Wellbeing.

Karl, who joins this month from Thames Water where he held the role of Chief Health, Safety and Security Officer since 2013, brings a wealth of experience to the position having spent over 30 years working in the utilities, energy, rail, construction and facilities management industries. 

Drawing on his extensive industry experience, Karl will work with the FYLD team and its customers to implement new features into the company’s cutting-edge, AI-driven platform to bring safety to life throughout delivery of jobs. The platform includes an imagery and voice-based risk assessment, enabling its users to remove antiquated, often tick box, paper or electronic forms. This entirely new way of performing point of work risk assessments has been a key driver for customers of the FYLD platform in reducing incidents and injuries by 20% since implementation.

Throughout his career, Karl has been awarded a number of prestigious accolades and non-executive positions including an OBE in the 2020 New Years Honours List for services to mental health policy, the Safety and Health Practitioner’s (SHP) Most Influential Leader in Health and Safety, as well as five years on the board of Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP).

His decades of industry experience and mental health advocacy will see the platform, which is already used by the UK’s leading utilities and construction firms, benefit from his insights. In particular, Karl will focus on how the digital transformation of risk assessments and mitigation can help to keep a workforce physically safe in the most complex and hazardous working environments – while releasing large volumes of data about operational outcomes to drive efficiency gains. 

Commenting on his appointment, Karl said: 

“It is an exciting time to join FYLD as the need for pioneering technology underpinned by artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to prevent harm and improve productivity continues to grow. Health and safety should be considered an enabler not a blocker to allow work to progress, but all too often the tools available to those responsible for assessing and reporting risk are outdated and not fit-for-purpose today. Worryingly, many businesses still rely on paper-based documents, digital forms and human intellect to identify risk. Not only is this an inefficient use of time, this can have detrimental effects on employees resulting in burnout and high turnover rates over time.

“I have been impressed by the smart tech that underpins FYLD, including the way it makes paper-based methods redundant. It helps to cut through the noise, empowering field workers to not only identify risk before it poses a harm to human life, but helps them to prioritise their assessments and therefore make huge efficiencies day-to-day. Longer-term this will dramatically improve stress levels and result in feelings of career fulfilment which is fantastic for not only the employee but the businesses who employ them.

“Technology as we know it is evolving at a very rapid rate, and the benefits of harm prevention through embracing these state-of-the-art solutions can transform any business. I am looking forward to being part of the solution and working with the FYLD team to help drive future product and business growth.”

Shelley Copsey, Chief Executive Officer of FYLD said: 

“We are very pleased to welcome Karl to the FYLD team. He is a well-respected pioneer in his field, and brings significant industry experience to the role, as well as an understanding of mental health and employee wellbeing that is second to none. This, in addition to his proven leadership skills, passion for innovation and transformative technology solutions, and awareness of the market opportunities, means he is perfectly positioned for this senior role and to support the business embark on its next phase of growth.” 

Established in 2019, FYLD has been proven to reduce injuries and incidents by 20% after a 12-month testing and validation process with SGN, the leading UK based natural and green gas company which manages a network that distributes natural and green gas to 5.9 million homes and businesses across Scotland and the south of England. For 80% of the jobs completed by SGN, this was achieved with 75% less time invested in undertaking safety assessments for an average 1,000 jobs per week – which equates to over 10,000 hours saved.

FYLD delivers efficiencies and savings for utility companies through enabling deep understanding of what takes place on sites as jobs progress, with managers able to drive improved work completion rates, better quality work outcomes, better safety outcomes (including reduced investigation times and insurance premiums) and elimination of site fines.

In 2020, FYLD was awarded the Emerging Technology Award at the UK IT Industry Awards, which acknowledges an innovative new development or service that delivers a new class of solution or type of benefit.