New Experiences & Global Standards: Q&A with Simon Rowlands, Regional HSEQ Manager – Australia

Simon Rowlands, Quensh Perth Australia HSEQ QHSE

Experienced HSEQ specialist Simon Rowlands recently made the move to Perth, Western Australia to take on the role of Regional HSEQ Manager and support Quensh’s strategic growth plan to re-establish ourselves in the country. We recently caught up with Simon to find out more about this, his career to date and what Quensh can offer clients in Australia.

Quensh: You’re Quensh’s Regional HSEQ Manager, working closely with our Australia-based clients — can you talk us through your role and its main focuses?

Simon: Quensh originally established a presence here in 2017 — but the development of this was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore everything was put on hold for a few years. Now, as part of a strategic growth plan, my role here is to re-establish Quensh in Western Australia again, and build on the ‘foundations’ that we have in place here from previous projects and client relationships.

This involves everything from speaking to existing and new clients, to developing new connections at networking events, to delivering HSEQ services directly. In time, we’ll be able to grow our Australia-based team again and build our client base by delivering great work and helping businesses in Western Australia achieve their HSEQ goals.

In recent months, we’ve spoken to established clients and new ones — it’s about a 50/50 split so far — so it’s been great to both reconnect with businesses we know and learn more about others that we’ve just met. There’s definitely an existing knowledge of our name and services among the business community here, from previous activity, so that helps a lot with those initial conversations.

Q: Can you tell us a bit more about your career prior to joining the Quensh team?

S: I started my career in the oil industry around 20 years ago as a mechanical technician, before moving into the operational side of the industry as a yard and warehouse supervisor.

Around 7 years ago, I moved into Health, Safety, Environment & Quality (HSEQ) and I’ve worked in various roles since then — including heading up a company’s engineering inspection department alongside the HSEQ department, which gave me a lot of experience on the ‘quality’ side of things, along with health, safety and the environment. 

I joined the team at Quensh in 2022 and have enjoyed engaging with lots of different businesses and industries. Moving to Australia was something my wife and I have wanted to do for many years, and when I spoke to the management team about this long-term plan we saw a clear opportunity for me to relocate and play a key role in Quensh re-establishing a presence here. I think that’s a really great example of the kind of business Quensh is — I believe in being open and honest with people, and in letting the company know my plans, we have been able to make it happen sooner than we’d originally planned, which is amazing!

Q: You’ve worked in the UK / North Sea and now are based in Western Australia — are there any major similarities or differences between clients’ HSEQ requirements in these different regions?

S: Yes and no, I’d say. It’s obviously a different country in terms of culture and lifestyle, but in terms of HSEQ a lot of the requirements have been adapted from the same principles as UK legislation. They have recently updated regional H&S legislation in Western Australia as part of harmonisation throughout the country, so Quensh is here to help clients make sense of any changes that might affect them and plan practical ways to adjust as needed. 

There’s a great culture of networking here in Perth itself so there are lots of people who are more than happy to meet, grab a coffee or have lunch. I’ve also attended a few ‘sundowners’ — which are an Australian business custom involving a few sociable drinks after work at sunset to catch-up and meet new people.

I’m really enjoying the experience. It’s a great learning curve for me in terms of getting to know the country, its culture and the business community, but there’s also international principles that are standardised and ‘best practice’ (ISO standards, for example) so I always feel confident that we can help clients, wherever we work. 

Q: What key services and expertise can Quensh bring to clients in Australia?

S: We offer a full range of HSEQ consultancy services to companies in Western Australia, from advice and support, to developing specific project plans to achieve specific compliance standards. There’s a lot of legislation for businesses to digest, understand and comply with — our role is to help pull out what is relevant to each client, identify actions they can take that are cost effective to help them achieve full compliance.

We believe in making sure that everyone can go home from work safe, but also making sure they’ve got a job to go to in the first place — that starts with making sure their HSEQ is cost-effective. My ‘hands-on’ experience from previous roles helps me a lot when working with clients, because I understand their concerns and priorities from a practical, operational point of view.  

Q: You recently attended AOG Energy 2024 and represented Quensh on the Scottish Development International (SDI) exhibition stand — did you have any big learnings from that event and speaking to a wide variety of clients and businesses? 

S: AOG Energy was a great experience. As this was the first ‘event’ I have attended for Quensh, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have always been a ‘boots on the ground’ kind of guy working with clients on projects and so business development / networking at these kinds of events is new to me.

It’s been another good learning curve — speaking to lots of new people from all walks of life, who are all friendly and passionate about what they do. Everyone is very approachable, and nobody is too busy to have a chat, which helps a lot!

Q: What are you enjoying most about life in Australia? 

S: Well, obviously the weather is a big improvement! As well as that, the people here have been really friendly, and I’m really looking forward to learning more about the history of the country and region — it’s all ‘new history’ to me. I also love seeing wildlife and landscapes that we don’t have in the UK — I’m spotting something new every day. 

The food in Perth is amazing too. On the main street near our unit, there are many different restaurants and places to eat, from all kinds of cuisines across the world. I’m looking forward to exploring that too! 

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