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President’s Commendation Awards

September 2021

Ria Sooknarine and Alan Plom are the latest recipients of the IOSH President’s Commendation Award, given for outstanding service to the occupational safety and health profession.

Ria has been a member of IOSH’s Logistics and Retail Group for almost three years. Before this, she was a member of the IOSH Caribbean Branch and committee for about five years.

She has gone beyond the call of duty to promote IOSH and its work. She has been a panellist on IOSH’s Covid webinars, she has sourced speakers for group and branch events and been active in helping to coordinate several very successful events.

As Communications Coordinator for the Logistics and Retail Group, she has supported the growth of the Group’s LinkedIn following, which has increased from a mere 200 followers to 7,000.

Time zones present no barrier to Ria’s enthusiasm, dedication and commitment: she’s often awake in the very early hours of a Caribbean morning to attend IOSH UK meetings and webinars. Andrew Mawson, Chair of the Logistics and Retail Group, cannot recall the last time that Ria didn’t volunteer for a role on an event.

Ria was instrumental in raising the profile of the Caribbean Branch and very influential in the coordination of the Caribbean Health and Safety Conference in 2018, for which the branch received an IOSH Excellence Award.

Ria said:I am over the moon! To receive the IOSH President's Commendation Award from an organisation I admire makes me ecstatic! I am grateful to be recognised for the work that I have done, and I feel very proud and fortunate to be supported by a wonderful team who all share my passion as we work towards a safer and healthier world of work.’

Alan has been a member of IOSH’s Chiltern Branch for around 10 years. He has played a key role in coordinating activities over the last year which has presented so many challenges. Chiltern was the first IOSH branch to move to virtual branch meetings, which was seen as an important development at such a difficult time for IOSH’s networks. The changes meant that new methods and techniques had to be learned, but with Alan’s instrumental support the branch became very successful at holding events in a new way.

Alan was also influential in creating and coordinating the Chiltern branch’s ‘Back to Basics’ summer school series. This involved weekly presentations on key workplace risk areas, given by leaders and experts in the profession. Alan conceptualised the programme as a way to focus on refreshing health and safety knowledge, for OSH professionals at all stages of their careers.

Alan’s meticulous approach and commitment ensured that the Summer School was a hugely effective series. He spent many hours researching past IOSH events to ensure that participants got the best out of the sessions. These back-to-basics sessions have helped to reinforce the Enhance, Collaborate and Influence strands of IOSH’s WORK 2022 strategy. It’s thanks to Alan’s drive, determination and passion that the meetings have been so successful.

He is a great ambassador for our profession.

Alan said: ‘It was a great surprise (and honour) to be presented the President’s Commendation Award for “services to health and safety” by Jimmy Quinn (albeit virtually) at the start of the last Chiltern Branch ‘Back to Basics’ (B2B) session. I would also like to thank Branch Chair Melissa Mark-Joyce and my colleagues on the Branch Committee for nominating me and recognising my contribution – but that is what we all do as committed volunteers who believe in what we do! 

‘B2B was a great example of team effort and joint working with some other Branches in our Region. I hope the success of our ‘Summer School’ series (and the President’s Awards) will spur other members into volunteering to make things happen. I also hope it encourages other branches into sharing speakers and collaborating, to deliver informative ‘practical’ sessions on relevant topics needed by all members (new and experienced). Our recorded sessions, presentations and other relevant information are now available for CPD or research by anyone, wherever they are in the world.

Watch this space for B2B2 – the Winter Series!’

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Virman Man
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