A bit about your job
- Could you please tell us about your past experience in the scaffolding industry?
I have been working within the scaffolding industry since 1979, when I started at the Stanlow Oil Refinery. My 40 year scaffolding career has taken me in all kinds of interesting directions, from petrochemical, to maritime, construction to event scaffolding, and has given me the opportunity to travel all around the world, working in countries such as Denmark, China and Dubai.
Following a serious fall from height that left me in hospital for 18 weeks I was left unable to carry out the work on scaffolding that I had been doing. Whilst still recovering I began my qualifications towards becoming a trainer so that I could help scaffolders to work safely at height and reduce their risk to the same kind of accident that had injured me; I’ve been training scaffolders ever since.
- Can you describe a typical day at Simian Risk?
I always start my day at 7am with a cup of tea, followed by the preparation of materials for the day. Once the trainees arrive on site, we begin with a revision session every morning so that they are fully equipped to take an assessment at the end of each week.
- Is there one aspect of your work in particular that you most enjoy?
The interaction with the kids and passing on the knowledge that I have gained throughout my career. Much of the things I was taught when I began have remained with regards to the erection of a scaffolding, the only differences are the safety aspects. I still have the folder I used when I myself was an apprentice, which I enjoy to bring to sessions to show trainees.
- What advice would you give those considering a career in the scaffolding industry?
Always follow your risk assessment, ensuring that you are always working safely.
- In your opinion, what is the most important piece of guidance you give trainee scaffolders?
All guidance on safe scaffolding practices is important, but I believe the SG4 guidance on collective fall protection is of particular importance.
- Before working at Simian Risk, what was the most unusual or interesting job (scaffolder or other) you’ve ever had?
My work in event scaffolding gave the opportunity to work on a number of interesting and high-profile events. For example, I worked on the largest gathering of Greek Royalty for over 40 years in the 90s at Hampton Court Palace, I worked on the scaffolding at Imran Khan’s wedding and at a John Lennon tribute concert put on by Yoko Ono in Liverpool.
One of the most exciting events was the construction of scaffolding for a stage at a 50th birthday party in West Sussex; when I asked who would be playing the client said that one of their neighbours would be performing, the neighbour turned out to be Phil Collins!
A bit about you
- Aside from scaffolding, what would be your dream job?
Anything outdoors or with wildlife
- If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?
- Favourite film?
- Favourite food?
- Have you ever had your 15 minutes of fame?
I wouldn’t call it my 15 minutes of fame, but I have gotten in trouble before for my fairly famous (or notorious) last name. I share my name with convicted murderer James Hanratty who was one of the final eight people to be executed in Britain. The case was well known due to a number of calls for appeals as Hanratty protested his innocence. When I was younger I was asked my name by a policeman following an evening at the pub, who thought I was being smart when I said my last name Hanratty and locked me up overnight. Suffice to say the officer was very apologetic the following morning when he discovered I was telling the truth!