Edward Slater, from Waveney, known to his friends and family as Ted, was awarded and praised by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and Waveney District Council at a small ceremony, at Lowestoft Town Hall.
The 84-year old, who was evacuated to Suffolk at the age of 11 during the Second World War, always wanted to save lives, so he followed a career path in occupational health and safety, joining the Institution in the 1950s.
“It’s good, as far as I’m concerned, that IOSH and Waveney District Council have recognised me. I feel that the work I’ve done is valued and that’s an honour.
“Since starting my career back in 1948, I have seen a number of changes in the industry. Workplace accidents and fatalities were high when I first started out, but now the UK has one of the best records in the world – it’s nice to think I may have made a small contribution to that.”
He began his career as an assistant to the health and safety officer and went on to work for the likes of the Air Ministry, beans manufacturer, H.J Heinz, and RAF Orfordness, Suffolk Radio Research Station, before moving on to health and safety in the construction of nuclear power stations.
“Working for Heinz was quite an experience. Heinz was opening a new factory in Wigan – it was to be the largest food factory in Europe. As senior safety officer I was tasked with ensuring the production machinery was UK compliant and that 4,000 new members of staff received health and safety training.
“One of the perks of the job was the staff sales where you could pick up tins of baked beans for a fraction of the price – I still eat Heinz beans now, nothing beats them.”
Andrew Bagworth, Chair of IOSH’s East Anglia Branch, said:
“This is a tremendous achievement. Ted’s dedication and passion for health and safety has no doubt helped save lives and prevented people from being injured. He’s an inspiration to the younger members of our profession, we’re delighted to have awarded him for 60 years of service to IOSH and we’re proud to have him as a member.”