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IIRSM 40th Anniversary

IIRSM Fellows, supporters, partners and industry colleagues joined us recently to mark our 40th anniversary. Kellie Mundell reports.

The magnificent Goldsmiths Hall in London was the chosen venue for the institute to celebrate four decades of safety leadership in July and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The splendid surroundings lent themselves to this auspicious occasion in a grand fashion, and saw IIRSM chief executive Phillip Pearson open the evening, welcoming members from both the UK and around the world, including Charles Grubb, the institute’s longest serving member.

President Peter Hall took to the stage to pay his respects to former chairman and Honorary Life President John Bennett. John had hoped to live to see IIRSM celebrate 40 years but he sadly passed away in May this year. “He had been greatly looking forward to this event and even had a hand in planning our celebrations and choosing this beautiful venue,” said Peter. He took the opportunity to announce that IIRSM’s Council have decided to recognise and remember John by creating an award in his name. The John Bennett award will be presented to apprentices or young health and safety managers starting out in their careers, as recognising young talent was something particularly close to John’s heart. The first John Bennett award will be made in 2016.

“In 1975 James Tye, encouraged and supported by Dr Douglas Latto, founded the IIRSM,” Peter told guests. “They had the vision and drive to develop a professional body for health and safety practitioners who had studied for and attained the British Safety Council Health and Safety Diploma, providing a home where they could further develop their knowledge and skills and play an active role in the development of professional standards in accident prevention and occupational health throughout the world. Today IIRSM membership spans 70 countries. I am particularly pleased to see members from around the world here this evening.”

Peter then introduced Siobhan Donnelly as Incoming President following the end of his tenure this coming December. Siobhan took to the podium to announce that in honour of John’s vision to support the people who actually carry out the work at the front line and help them to improve their accident prevention, from this summer the institute is offering even more support to individuals who work closely with businesses and organisations around the world. “We have redefined our Affiliate membership grade to make it more relevant and attractive to operatives, workers, supervisors and managers gaining an appropriate health and safety qualification,” she explained. “This exciting development will mean that more real people, making daily decisions, will have our support. These individuals will have access to a network of IIRSM services to provide support prior to and after gaining a qualification,” she added.

Siobhan told guests of her hopes for the future, and said her personal aim as President of IIRSM will be to work towards an equivalent to the Construction Skills Register throughout all businesses to give them direct access to traditional safety messages, dispelling safety myths and helping other workers keep themselves safe in their workplace.

She concluded her speech by asking attendees to think about how many lives they have saved – acknowledging that though it’s difficult to calculate, it’s probably a large number, which is why we should all be proud to be part of these celebrations.

Following the formal proceedings, guests enjoyed some rather delicious birthday cake.

Kellie Mundell
Editor, IIRSM’s Insight Newsletter
Web Editor, Health and Safety at Work magazine



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