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Dedicated fire safety expert receives IOSH gong

Date posted
12 February 2024
Marcus Boocock
Estimated reading time
2 minute read

A retired IOSH member who has spent more than a decade on the Fire Risk Management Group has been awarded a President’s Distinguished Service Award (PDSA). Gary Laird was presented with the award by IOSH President Stuart Hughes at a recent group meeting. It follows years of dedicated service to the group and to the IOSH Yorkshire Branch, and more than half a century working in safety-related roles.

A career in fire safety

Gary spent the majority of his career – 35 years to be exact – working for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service in operational fire safety and fire investigation roles. After leaving the service, he moved to Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council, where he spent 15 years as Senior Health and Safety Advisor.

He has since set up his own consultancy while volunteering on the governing body of a local school and has continued to volunteer for IOSH.

He had a spell as chair of the Fire Risk Management Group, as well as being Vice-Chair for a period. During this time, he supported many safety-led events and worked closely with IOSH’s former Head of Policy Richard Jones on the Institution’s work around fire safety.

More recently, he supported others on the group on developing a ‘Back to Basics’ series on fire safety, which included a text book, distance learning, publication of guidance and webinars for OSH professionals.

Supporting the IOSH vision

Presenting Gary with his award, Stuart said: “Some words listed in the nomination that nicely sum up the person Gary is – knowledgeable, calm but enthusiastic, supportive, passionate, considered, professional, wants to make a difference, cares about lives.

“It’s due to volunteers like yourself that we are able to move that step closer to our vision of a safe and healthy world of work.”

Gary said: “I am very pleased to accept the award. I have met and worked with some inspirational people, have presented in Hong Kong, Bulgaria, Switzerland and numerous locations in the UK. I’ve also presented on the terrace of the House of Commons, represented IOSH at the Fire Sector Federation and the Parliamentary All Party Fire and Rescue Group. Fire Safety is as important today as ever, due to complacency which needs to be addressed.”

Last updated: 12 February 2024

Marcus Boocock

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