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Zoological Society of London

Meet Our Members

ZSL are Corporate Members

“Corporate membership of IIRSM allows each individual within my team to take up personal membership, which is great because it means they can keep on top of all the various legislative changes, developments in best practice, and changes to standards”

Ian Stacey, head of health, safety and security for ZSL (Zoological Society of London) and his team are responsible for health and safety at London Zoo, Whipsnade Zoo and operations in nine countries overseas. In numbers, this means more than 1000 employees globally, two million visitors annually and 17,000 animals. As well as the “traditional” hazards and risks, there are the security implications of being a high-profile attraction in London, not to mention the less everyday challenges, such as planning the safe manual handling of three new brown bears at Whipsnade. Its activities are certainly complex.

“What I like most about our membership of IIRSM is that it’s a partnership,” Ian says. “We are a fairly new corporate member of IIRSM, but our membership has already opened up various opportunities.”

Three years ago, Ian went about restructuring the health and safety department at ZSL, whose operations include London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo, as well as conservation activities overseas in nine countries.

“As you can imagine, because our operations are very seasonal in the UK, there’s a fair amount of capacity in some roles. As a first-aider, you might be really busy in the summer holidays with all the school children visiting, but it’s another matter on a cold November morning!”

Ian looked at individuals’ roles and made sure everyone undertook basic NEBOSH training and first aid trainer-the-trainer courses. Once all his team members had achieved their qualifications, he decided to that ZSL would benefit from joining the IIRSM as a corporate member.

“The main reason was the continuing professional development (CPD) it offered my team members,” he explains. “Corporate membership gives us access to IIRSM’s one-day seminars on a range of subjects, from best practice on topics such as respiratory health to seminars featuring mock trials that illustrate the legal implications of getting things wrong.

“Corporate membership of IIRSM also allows each individual within my team to take up personal membership, which is great because it means they can keep on top of all the various legislative changes, developments in best practice, and changes to standards.”

Another benefit for Ian’s team members is the opportunity to network with fellow professionals. While he’s proud of his team and the close working relationships within it, he’s realistic about individuals’ personal career ambitions.

“I want all my team to stay with ZSL for as long as possible,” he says, “but if they choose to move on for career development, their relationship with IIRSM makes them more marketable.”

At an organisational level, ZSL’s corporate membership of IIRSM is already opening up opportunities for sharing experiences, expertise and best practice. ZSL has engaged in events with local business partners to share insight into different working practices, and – in part due to Ian’s background at the BBC – fellow IIRSM corporate member ITV expressed an interested in working with ZSL.

“If it hadn’t been for IIRSM, there wouldn’t have been that connection,” Ian confirms.

ZSL’s success in being named as the joint winner of the Barry Holt Award for Outstanding Practice at the IIRSM's 2019 Risk Excellence Awards in May this year has further increased the organisation’s profile, says Ian.

“People are interested in what we do now, which is great. The award win, the opportunities for CPD and the networking: it’s been nothing but positive since we joined IIRSM and I would certainly recommend corporate membership to other organisations.”