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Meet the team: Danny Swygart – Regional SHE Manager, EMR

Myles Winstone

2022-08-09
Danny Swyygart Regional SHE Manager

When Danny's career as a bricklayer was halted by recession in the early 1990s, he decided to take a job in a metal recycling yard in the Suffolk town of Newmarket for a few months until the economy recovered. Three decades later, he has become one of EMR’s most experienced employees, overseeing safety, health and environmental management (SHE) at 26 sites across the South East of England.

Danny says his time with EMR has coincided with a transformation in the way the industry considers issues such as safety and the environment: “A lot has changed in the three decades I have worked for EMR. Over the years, EMR has invested massive amounts into our sites, ensuring they are safer and more environmentally friendly places.”

In addition, Danny and the rest of the SHE team continue to work towards a set of key objectives including SHE Perfect Day, which recognises each day free from injury, vehicle accident or harm to the environment, and EMR’s Stop Work Authority, which gives every employee the right and duty to halt operations if they recognise a hazardous situation.

Danny has been on quite a journey from a bricklayer who just needed a month or two of temporary employment.

“I started with EMR as a General Yard Operative, working on the picking lines and then driving forklift trucks, loading shovels and cranes,” says Danny. “I then became the health and safety representative for an area of the Newmarket site”.

After thriving in this role, Danny was given the opportunity to become Safety Coordinator.

“I didn’t have the right qualifications at the time, so EMR supported me to do the training, whilst I continued to do my operational role. Once I was qualified, I gradually took on more sites until I was ultimately overseeing 13 sites as Safety Coordinator.”

This experience ultimately led Danny to his current role as Regional SHE Manager, holding a position of leadership in one of most crucial departments of EMR’s business.

Danny says his operational experience has proved invaluable as he works to ensure SHE principles remain at the heart of the way EMR does business.

“There aren’t many jobs out on the yard that I haven’t done and that has given me an insight into what’s involved in those jobs and the risks that are associated with them,” he says. “If somebody is talking about a task, I know how to do it and there’s a respect for that. When people come to me with a question – whether it’s a SHE related question or an operational question – I can help them.

“That’s where I get my job satisfaction and it’s probably why I’ve stayed working at EMR for so long,” he adds.

And while Danny’s journey so far has seen him learn, experience and achieve so much with EMR, there is still a lot to do. By the end of this year all of EMR’s UK sites are set to gain ISO9001, ISO14000 and ISO45001 standards (focused on quality, environmental management, and health and safety, respectively) with all export facilities achieving end of waste certification including EMR’s Tilbury Dock site which Danny oversees. EMR is also implementing an energy management system as part of its net-zero strategy.

“Most recently several of us in the SHEQ team have been studying to become practitioners with IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment). This will help EMR further embed the principles around sustainability into the culture of the business – SHEQ policies can’t be bolted on or done as a flash-in-the-pan project, so our team is really focused on that.”

Danny says that he is seeing an increasing number of new starters at the business who identify the sustainability of the recycling industry as one of the major attractions of EMR as an employer. And it is in large part thanks to his team that EMR continues to become a safer and more environmentally-conscious business each and every day.