Opinion

It’s been a challenging 2023, but here’s to a brighter New Year

Even in the darkest of winter days we must keep on working together in the hope of building a brighter New Year, says Lesley McLeod.

Lesley McLeod APS
Lesley McLeod, APS

There are times when the world seems a very dark place. The winter edition of Project Safety Journal (PSJ) – the magazine for members of the Association for Project Safety (APS) – is hitting your desks and inboxes not just when winter is reaching its deepest depths, but when the world around us faces conflict.

We are bombarded with images that appal and move us to pity in equal measure. Naturally, APS takes no sides, but we echo the hopes for peace expressed so eloquently by the singer and environmental campaigner Feargal Sharkey, who recalled the bravery on both sides that brought an end to the Troubles on the island of Ireland and his wish that a similar breakthrough might be found for others.

It is just a coincidence we hear from John Murray and Paul Cheyne – our colleagues and champions in Northern Ireland – for our feature on APS in the regions. We also highlight the events and webinars included in your APS membership, and reveal a little of the association’s plans for the New Year, when we will be on the road bringing APS out to you.

It is one of our founding beliefs that sharing your valuable experience can help shape for the better work in the built environment so it is less risky than it otherwise might be. This copy of PSJ is no exception. We always recognise that APS’s greatest strength and asset is the skills, knowledge and experience of its members and we showcase Paul Bussey – a health and safety guru known to many of you.

Challenging opinions

Appropriately for the time of year, our CPD piece is on thermal insulation. There is more on the Building Safety Act, that seemingly never-ending saga: a challenging opinion piece from Anthony Taylor; and more on what the regulations mean for dutyholders. There’s also a very helpful explanation from our own Andrew Leslie about how the Act will make a difference in parts of our four nations seemingly unaffected by the legislation. Safe to say, like Santa’s all-seeing eye, there is really nowhere you can hide. 

Our experts also reflect on one of the biggest news stories to have hit the construction sector in recent times. We take an in-depth look at the controversy over reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) that broke just as schools in England were due to return after the summer holidays. The implications are certainly likely to reach far beyond our schoolrooms.

I have always felt the world would be a better place if we each did just one small thing to improve things around us. I know one small positive action may seem like a snowflake melting on the breeze but, if we all acted together, we could become a blizzard for good. 

But, for now, and with hopes for a brighter New Year ahead, let me on behalf of the team at APS headquarters wish you and yours all the very best for this festive season and peace and good health in the coming months. 

Lesley McLeod is CEO of the Association for Project Safety.

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