Allan St. John Holt Memorial Lecture

Allan St. John Holt, who died on May 3 2007, devoted his life to improving the safety and health of people at work. He made a massive contribution to the professionalisation of the subject. As an original thinker, he was passionate, determined, principled and iconoclastic. He gave great encouragement to colleagues, helping many to move forward and expand their knowledge and contributions to occupational safety and health.

Allan's biography.

As a fitting way of commemorating his life and work, RoSPA together with the Royal Mail Group host an annual memorial lecture to provide a platform for challenge and debate and to stimulate fresh thinking about how to further reduce work related accidents and ill health.

The 2017 Allan St John Holt OBE Memorial Lecture was held on October 16 at Phoenix Centre, Royal Mail Mount Pleasant, London. The keynote lecture, on children's mental health, was delivered by Sir Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of Action for Children.

Past lectures

Allan's Biography

Biography - Allan St John Holt OBE

Allan was a leading thinker in the field and a highly active practitioner who did much to establish today's H&S profession. From the early sixties onwards he pursued a career in occupational safety and health, qualifying in 1970 to become a member of the Institution of Industrial Safety Officers (IISO) which later evolved to become the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). In 1979 he was instrumental in securing the unification of arrangements for professional training and examination that led to the formation of NEBOSH, which helped establish health and safety as a recognised academic subject. Internationally, in 1991 he published the first edition of 'Principles of health and safety at work' – an obligatory text for many students which helped thousands of people worldwide to put basic techniques into practice. At the time of his death he was still highly active in health and safety as the Group Head of Safety at Royal Mail Group. For this achievement, and his services to health and safety, Allan was awarded the OBE in the 2007 New Year's Honours List. Allan was also honoured with RoSPA's first posthumous Distinguished Service Award in May 2007, which was presented to his partner Liz Barnes-Downing.

2011 - Rear Admiral Paul Thomas - "Engineering A Safer Future"

View lecture - "Engineering A Safer Future" (PDF 469kb)

Biography - Rear Admiral (RETD) Paul Thomas, CB, FREng, FCGI, BSc(Eng), MSc, CEng, FIMechE, Hon FNucI

Educated at Haileybury, Paul joined the Royal Navy in 1963. Following initial training at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth and in HM Ships, he joined the Royal Naval Engineering College in 1965. Gaining a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and subsequently an MSc in Nuclear Science and Technology, he went on to submarine training. Submarine appointments in HMS/Ms OCELOT, ORACL, RENOWN & REVENGE followed. Shore appointments included Assistant Director Reactor Safety, Superintendent VULCAN Naval Reactor Test Establishment Dounreay, Chairman Naval Nuclear Technical Safety Panel, Director Nuclear Propulsion, Captain Royal Naval Engineering College and Chief Strategic Systems Executive.

He retired from the Royal Navy in 1998 joining AEA Technology, Nuclear Engineering where he held the positions of Director Engineering Projects and Director Strategic Development. He moved to British Nuclear Fuels plc in 2001 as Director Environment, Health, Safety and Quality. In 2005 he joined the Board of RSSB Ltd as a non-executive Director becoming Chairman in 2008. He is Chairman of The Hazards Forum and the Process Safety Forum.

He was awarded the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct in 1980 and the US Legion of Merit in 1998. He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1998. His interests include cycling, ballooning, walking and 'anything mechanical'.

2010 – Sir Bill Callaghan – "Risk, Regulation and Rationality"

View lecture - "Risk, Regulation and Rationality" (PDF 117kb)

Biography - Sir Bill Callaghan

Sir Bill Callaghan (Chair) was appointed a member of the Legal Services Commission from 28 July 2008 and Chair from 1 September. He also chairs the Finance Committee. Sir Bill has a very strong track record of operating in a range of senior roles, including Chair, Health and Safety Commission for 8 years. He is also a serving magistrate.

Much of Sir Bill's earlier career was focused in the Trades Union Congress (TUC) where he was the Chief Economist and Head of the Economic and Social Affairs Department. He developed the TUC's policy on partnership at work. He served on the Low Pay Commission from 1997 to 2000 and played a key role in the introduction of the National Minimum Wage in April 1999. Bill has since led a review into the regulation of animal pathogens for Defra and was an independent member of the Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff Review into HE Finance and Pay Data. He chairs the Board of Trustees of the British Occupational Health Research Foundation.

Sir Bill has a great deal of experience of operating within a sensitive political environment in an organisation that is going through considerable change. He received a knighthood in the 2007 Queen's Birthday Honours List in recognition of his outstanding contribution to health and safety management at work.

2009 - Lawrence Waterman – 'Motes, beams and sensible safety: taking personal responsibility for professional advice'?

View lecture – 'Motes, beams and sensible safety: taking personal responsibility for professional advice'? (PDF 31kb)

Biography - Lawrence Waterman, MSc CFIOSH MFOH FRSA

Lawrence is currently Head of Health and Safety for the Olympic Delivery Authority and Chairman of Sypol, one of the UK's leading health, safety and environmental consultancies. He is a Chartered Fellow of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (CFIOSH) and a Member of the Faculty of Occupational Hygiene (MFOH).

Lawrence is a member of:

  • HSE Science Strategy Committee
  • HSE Horizon Scanning Intelligence Group
  • Council of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, the UK parliament's oldest joint committee (Lords and Commons) which seeks to bring scientists, technologists and politicians together to help develop understanding and policy
  • CONIAC Occupational Health Working Party, a Government committee which develops health policy for the construction industry
  • Health and Safety Board of the Institution of Civil Engineers (corresponding).

Lawrence is a Past President of IOSH, was Project Director for the occupational health pilot Constructing Better Health and chaired the working party which developed guidance on health and safety management systems (Systems in Focus), and is the author of chapters in books on health and safety published by the Institute of Directors, and other commercial publishers on a number of topics. He was the recipient (jointly) of the 1995 Institution of Civil Engineers medal for Safety in Construction, and in 2005 of the RoSPA Distinguished Service Award.

2008 – John Rimington – "Health and Safety – Past, Present and Future"

View lecture – "Health and Safety – Past, Present and Future" (PDF 294kb)

Biography - John Rimington CB

Culminating in his appointment as Director General of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 1984, a post he held for eleven years, John Rimington had a distinguished and highly influential career in the Civil Service, reaching the rank of Permanent Secretary in 1992.

During his time at the head of HSE he played a major role in building and consolidating the UK system for regulating health and safety at work, extending a risk based approach safety to diverse sectors and issues. In particular, he was instrumental in developing the UK's approach to regulating major hazards and nuclear activities, which in turn has been highly influential internationally.

Born in 1935, John Rimington was educated at Nottingham High School and Jesus College Cambridge where he studied history. Following a National Service Commission in the Royal Artillery he joined the Board of Trade in 1959. He was later seconded to HM Treasury where he worked on currency decimalisation. Later he served as a First Secretary in New Delhi, moving back to the DTI and then the Department of Employment. After a period as part of the UK's permanent representative team in Brussels, he worked for the Manpower Services Commission, becoming an Under Secretary in 1978 and eventually Director of Safety Policy at HSE in 1981. He was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1987 in recognition of conspicuous services to the Crown. He holds a number of non-executive directorships. He is a member of the National Council of the National Consumer' Association and is a visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde. In his spare time he enjoys, walking gardening and watching cricket.


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