A day in the life of Gillian Farrell


My day starts at 6.30am when I get up to get my two children organised and off to the childminder, then I head to the office. In my role, every day is different. What makes working in QHSE at CAN Group so interesting is how safety and quality are really embedded within the business; we are very involved in day-to-day operations. My role is very dynamic as we work with all departments. QHSE operates as a team across the business and is very inclusive to ensure everyone buys-in rather than working in a silo.

Most mornings, I catch-up with my team to find out what is going on in terms of quality, health, safety and environment in the office or across the sites and contracts we work on which allows me to provide guidance and support as necessary. This can be on a variety of topics.

Much of my role involves helping resolve issues that arise and providing advice and support. This includes supporting business innovations or changes to ensure systems and processes are developed and embedded, investigating incidents, advising on internal procedural or legislative compliance and identifying and managing improvement opportunities. As a UKAS accredited Inspection Body in accordance with ISO 17020 for NDT, Integrity Management, Pressure Systems and Lifting Equipment Inspection, my role as focal point is to ensure we remain compliant with the requirements of the standard to provide our clients with an independent and impartial service. I also manage the audits on CAN – internal and external – to ensure they run smoothly.

My role involves some travel across the UK, and occasionally further afield, to carry out audits on subcontractors and suppliers to ensure they provide the level of service expected to meet necessary standards. I check they have systems in place to provide a safe, high-quality operation which is ultimately supplied to our clients.

Other days include site visits for operational health and safety reviews. These allow me to see what is happening on client sites CAN have personnel working on, carry out audits and enable our personnel to discuss any issues affecting them.


I tend to have lunch at my desk between meetings.DITL


In the afternoon, I spend my time reviewing, approving and signing off audits, procedural and process amendments and general systems documentation updates. At CAN Group, health and safety are of paramount importance. We have a standardised process for QHSE across the business so there is little room for error. We have a strong safety culture and aim to be as efficient and pragmatic as possible using the systems and processes we have developed. The approach I take and try to instil in my team is that QHSE provides support and finds solutions in an efficient and sensible way while not putting unnecessary barriers in place. As a company, we like to do things properly, do things well and do things simply. This approach works well and was recognised recently when we won our eighth consecutive International Safety Award with Merit from the British Safety Council.


The stage my children are at, most evenings are spent to-ing and fro-ing between dancing, football and swimming. However, when I do get time to myself, I like to read and play the piano.

Nine reasons why I am happy at work...

1. The variety and unpredictability.

2. A great work/life balance which allows me to spend more time with my family.

3. Working with great people. We have a fantastic team.

4. Being given the opportunity to make a difference in the company on how we do things.

5. I get to do something I am passionate about and I believe in.

6. Not being stuck behind a desk all day every day. I love having the freedom to be involved with different areas of the business.

7. I love that my job challenges me every day in different ways.

8. I feel I have a voice in the company and am empowered to make decisions.

9. There is never a dull moment – there is always something going on that needs input and support from QHSE.

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