Ian Whittingham MBE

Tuesday, 21st Apr '09 at 14:36

We are very sad to announce that Ian Whittingham passed away last week following problems that he had encountered after suffering a stroke last year. We would like to convey our sympathy to Ian’s family and give thanks to Ian for the admirable work he carried out – dedicating his life to communicating the importance of safety.

Ian campaigned for improvements in safety and his own intense personal testimony had such an effect on those who heard him speak that his work has changed attitudes and saved lives across the United Kingdom.

For those of you who have not met Ian Whittingham, or have not seen one of his many presentations, Ian lost the use of his legs in a site accident 15 years ago when he slipped on some asbestos and fell 25 feet from a building – leaving him paralysed.

Ian said of the accident, "I was extremely unlucky that day, and the accident had a huge impact on my life. However, it has led me to do the work I do now and I feel like I’m making a big difference.” As a consequence, Ian vowed to work tirelessly to improve health and safety in construction and other sectors of industry. All of Ian's work was voluntary, and he visited workers on numerous sites up and down the country, sometimes with the Working Well Together (WWT) bus tour, but usually working directly with organisations, training companies, safety groups, trade associations and construction firms. He was closely involved with the Health and Safety Executive's work to make construction safer and has featured in its construction safety advertising.

Ian was, without doubt, among the most effective and compassionate communicators in safety, and has undoubtedly affected many of individuals throughout the country – saving lives and promoting the safety message. He believed passionately in his work and used to say: “It’s invaluable to a company to put all its employees on a health and safety course as it could prevent accidents and potentially save lives ," which was why he spoke about about his experience and why he felt it was so important to.

Ian was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2003 for his services to health and safety in the construction industry.

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