Acid accident leads to top safety role

A Jedburgh man who once tipped a bucket of acid over himself by accident this week became the future president of the premier chartered professional body for safety and health in the workplace.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) installed Andrew Sharman as its president elect at its annual general meeting on Tuesday, September 18.

He is set to become president in September 2019.

Andrew is a former chairman of the organisation’s Edinburgh branch and founded the Scottish Borders Safety Forum in Kelso in the late 1990s.

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Though now based in Switzerland, he remains close to his Borders roots and still has a home in Innerleithen.

After a workplace accident in his early career, he has focused his working life towards improving health and safety, and now he finds himself at the top of that particular tree.

IOSH acts as a champion, supporter, adviser, advocate and trainer for those who protect the safety, health and wellbeing of others.

With more than 46,000 members from over 120 countries, IOSH has an extensive trainer network, with more than 179,000 delegates attending its training courses in 2016.

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He said: “I tipped a bucket of acid over myself while I was working as a process engineer, and that really sparked my interest in workplace safety and health.

“Over the past 20 years, I have been part of the Edinburgh branch executive committee, including a term as chair, held positions on the IOSH board of trustees and more recently the presidential team, so this feels like a coming of age for me.

“I’m delighted to have been voted in as the new president-elect.

“My aim as president will be to ensure IOSH supports people in the profession no matter where in the world they are.

“We need to make sure we have a broad outlook.”

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Andrew is also chairman of the board of the Institute of Leadership and Management and is professor of leadership and safety culture and program director at the European Centre for Executive Development on the Insead business school campus in Paris.