Interview – Eric Knight, Global Head of Safety, Health & Environment , AstraZeneca
I’m passionate about keeping people safe and healthy with a positive impact to our environment. My role is Global Head of Safety, Health & Environment at AstraZeneca, a global science-led biopharmaceutical business, where I get to work with wonderfully talented and passionate people across the world.
1) What do you feel are the biggest challenges currently faced by safety leaders?
Determining where to focus efforts and recruiting the future workforce are two of the biggest challenges. Time and resources are finite, making it imperative that safety leaders strategically allocate their time and their team’s resources in the right areas. Attracting the right talent is key because safety and health strategy is ultimately delivered by people.
2)As a safety leader, what do you feel are missed opportunities when it comes to Health and Safety strategy?
Reframing health and safety as an ethical obligation rather than a legal requirement and focusing on people rather than employees. We have a wonderful profession where our role is to create good in the world – healthy and safe people on a healthy planet.
3) What are the trends and behaviors that will impact health and safety in the coming years?
Three trends are continued expectation that companies make a positive contribution to society, further integration of health and safety within the broader sustainability agenda, and increased gender and ethnic diversity in leadership roles.
4) What is the best piece of advice you have received within your job over the years?
Great question! The best advice I ever received came from my supervisor in my first global role: “Practice being strategic. It doesn’t come naturally to any of us.”
5) What is one key takeaway you hope our OHS audience leaves with after hearing your presentation on site?
We are all part of the broader Sustainability movement. Reframing within Sustainability will help us attract a more diverse and qualified workforce and enable us to create even more good in this world.