Celebrating our 50th anniversary at OH2019


Continuing IOM’s 50th celebration, a number of IOM staff attended the annual British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) conference OH2019 in Brighton. Prof Rob Aitken, CEO of IOM gave a keynote presentation to the whole conference discussing IOM’s beginnings in the coal industry to where we are today. Part of this talk linked to our long relationship with BOHS as a number of past presidents of the society have been from IOM.


The keynote talk was followed by a panel session organised by IOM on Emerging Risks in the workplace, which started with four short presentations by IOM speakers. Prof Damien McElvenny (Principal Epidemiologist) discussed advice for employers of shift workers and what they should do to protect their workers’ health.  Professor John Cherrie (Principal Scientist) spoke about new research into neurodegenerative diseases, including the Heading study amongst former British soccer players and how we measure head impact exposure in sport.  Dr Miranda Loh (Senior Scientist) discussed biomonitoring and the use of the “exposome” approach to health research as a framework for identifying environmental causes of diseases.  Dr Joanne Crawford (Head of Ergonomics and Human Factors) described the potential impacts of automation and robotics on health and safety, which can rid us of the dirty and repetitive jobs but at the moment are having more of an impact on dehumanising work.


During the conference, Dr Ioannis Basinas was awarded the Thomas Bedford Memorial Prize for his work on reducing dust exposure for farmers.  The prize is named in honour of the first President of BOHS and recognises the author or authors of the most outstanding paper published in the Annals of Work Exposures and Health in the previous two year period. The paper can be read in full on the journal website and can be found in volume 60, issue 7, 1 August 2016, pages 812–824.

Dr Basinas said, “Our study highlights the positive reductions that can be realised by making available measurement results and simple information. This very simple and cost-efficient exposure reduction approach can be applied more generally in exposure reduction programs in workplaces. My co-authors and I are very honoured to receive such a prestigious and historical prize. We hope that our specific work will encourage further systematic research of interventions to reduce exposure under real working conditions, which at present, although so much needed, remain very sparse in the field of occupational hygiene.”


The IOM team was completed by Carolyn McGonagle (Section Head Chemistry and PPE) and Jen Buick (Senior Chemist and PPE Technical Lead) who manned the IOMs exhibition stand at the conference. Ross Clark (Section Head Occupational Hygiene) and David Beckett (Occupational Hygienist) also attended the meeting as did Andy Phillips. Dave Flowers (Senior Occupational Hygienist) was part of the organising committee.