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RoSPA recognises trio that has saved lives

An MP, a world-leading academic and a former Health and Safety Commissioner have become the latest recipients of RoSPA Distinguished Service Awards in recognition of their work to save lives and reduce injuries and ill health.

Michael Clapham, the MP for Barnsley West and Penistone, has played an important role in keeping questions of health and safety at the forefront of debate in Parliament.

Leaving school at 15 without any formal qualifications, he started his working life at Dodworth Colliery, before going on to gain “O” and “A” Levels, an undergraduate degree, a Postgraduate Certificate of Education and a Master of Philosophy degree. In 1992, after a period in teaching and as Head of Industrial Relations for the National Union of Mineworkers, he became an MP, and has since served as a Parliamentary Private Secretary and a Member of the Trade and Industry Select Committee.

As Chair of the All-Party Occupational Safety and Health Group and Vice-Chair of the All-Party Fire Safety Group, Mr Clapham has sought to foster links between health and safety organisations and MPs and Peers. He has campaigned tirelessly to further the cause of ill-health prevention and to secure better compensation for miners with occupational diseases and for victims of asbestos.

Professor Trevor Kletz OBE, Visiting Professor of Chemical Engineering at Loughborough University, is famed worldwide for his development of the technique of Hazard and Operability Studies and has made a fundamental contribution to the assessment and control of risks associated with the design, operation and maintenance of chemical process plant.

After graduating with a first class degree in chemistry in 1944, Prof Kletz joined Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), where he progressed through various production roles to become Assistant Works Manager at Billingham Oil Works. In 1968, he was appointed ICI's first technical safety adviser, and in 1978, he became a Visiting Professor of Chemical Engineering at Loughborough, later becoming a full Professor. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Texas A&M University.

Since retiring from ICI in 1982, Prof Kletz, who lives in Cheadle, has developed a second career as a consultant, writer, commentator and lecturer on all aspects of process safety. His 11 books and well over 100 papers have had an enormous impact on students and practitioners in the UK and around the world. He was appointed an OBE in 1997 for his services to process safety.

Margaret Burns CBE was appointed to the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) in 1998, with a specific role to represent the wider public interest. Drawing on her background in law and the Scottish Consumer Council, she held the position for nine years, during which time she became the first independent Chair of the HSC's Rail Industry Advisory Committee. She also influenced the nuclear industry and gave valuable help to the Health and Safety Executive's Offshore Oil Division.

Ms Burns, of Aberdeen, convinced her HSC colleagues that specific regard had to be paid to Scotland's legal and political institutions and to its own health and safety problems, and she became the first chair of the Partnership on Health and Safety in Scotland.

She was appointed a CBE in 2003 for services to health and safety.

Mr Clapham and Prof Kletz were presented with their awards during the annual RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards ceremony at the Hilton Glasgow on Thursday, September 25. Ms Burns was unfortunately unable to attend the ceremony.

Professor Frank Wright, who is Professor of Law at the University of Warwick, also received a RoSPA Distinguished Service Award this year. He was presented with his award at a ceremony in Birmingham in May.

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