Putting safety first

Ian Coleman GemLife Health and Safety Manager


It’s a role he relishes and one he praises GemLife for making such an important part of their business.

“GemLife’s commitment to employing health and safety professionals/officers to help keep everyone safe is to be admired. The company was incredibly supportive and open minded – in my experience, this is unusual in the safety area,” said Ian.

Ian, who hails from Manchester in the UK, has worked in many areas where keeping people safe has been a major goal.

Prior to moving to Australia with his American-born wife, Angie, a decade ago, he worked for the metropolitan police in London reaching the level of Detective Sergeant.

When he arrived in Australia, he then ran his own import/retail business in Noosa before returning to multiple government investigatory roles including with the Crime and Corruption Commission for two years.

Ian’s experience then saw him become an investigator with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and later he became operations manager running a team of construction inspectors.

During that period, he was the first to have someone jailed for industrial manslaughter in Australia.

“It was a very unique case and took a lot of work,” he said.

His move to GemLife has allowed him to bring his knowledge and experience into a new role.

“What attracted me to GemLife was the chance to put into practice ideas I have formulated over the past years, particularly in the health and safety space. Empowering workers to make everyday safety decisions is my main goal.”

He said a safety call is always good even if it ends up being the wrong call at the time.

“I empower people to say `stop’ if they think they are in danger, and I will back them up 100 percent. And that’s my real passion – education about safety to management, employees and workers.”

Ian admits his latest role is challenging but says it is also rewarding.

“In three months, I’ve done more on the safety side of things than I did in five years while working as a regulator, and that’s quite something.”

Ian added that he loves talking to residents as he walks around GemLife sites.

“Their feedback is always welcome, and we will become more identifiable as our safety staff will soon be wearing multi-coloured shirts that are sure to stand out. We are hoping that will attract more residents to us because their insights can be very important,” he said.

He said GemLife is set to expand his team and the father of three couldn’t think of a better place for people to work.

“Our main role is to attend GemLife sites, proactively look at safety issues, manage any incidents and undertake safety education.”

“Everyone needs to feel safe, and that’s what our team is all about!”

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