• Insight into STEM careers
    Insight into STEM careers
  • Leaders Award for STEM
    Leaders Award for STEM
  • Interview inspiring people
    Interview inspiring people


Primary Engineer - Jack Sproston

Interview with Jack Sproston

Yesterday I met Mrs Yates the engineer who works at the health and safety Laboratory (HSL) in Buxton.  She came in and talked to us about HSL engineering.

At HSL they test things that have gone wrong they go to the place where it happened and take bits of it to test. They also test things that people have asked them to test like seat belts, hard hats and scaffolding. They investigate about 200 accidents per year (that’s 1 every working day)! Their job is to find out how it happened and to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I really enjoyed learning about gas explosions, the best test they did was when they put a strong tank full of fuel on a train track, and then they pushed a train carriage down a hill and when it hit the tank the tank got squeezed and the metal split at the top. All the fuel came out as a gas and set alight easily, whereas if the tank had been weak it would have come out as liquid and not have set alight so easily. I also enjoyed looking at vomiting Larry, vomiting Larry is a machine which helps HSL to look at what happens when someone is sick.

They have tested hard hats before by putting one of the hard hats on a melon and dropping a brick on it and there was no damage. Then they took the hard hat off and dropped the brick on it and the melon was crushed.

Mrs Yates’ job is to receive phone calls from people telling her that something has gone wrong or asking her if HSL can test something. She then arranges for that thing to be tested or the problem to be looked at.She chose the job of engineering because she had always loved designing and making things so she wanted to include them in her job. Her three favourite subjects at school were maths, art and physics.

She got the job when she saw an advert in the newspaper and applied for it, she didn’t get it at first or second time but she got it on the third try. She has been working for HSL for 4 years now and her previous job was making plastic for kettles. She really enjoys her job; she said she liked ir because ut involved helping people and keeping them safe.

I really enjoyed interviewing Mrs Yates’, I found it very fun and interesting and I am considering being an Engineer when I leave school.