Tributes to IOSH’s first chief executive

16 January 2020

TRIBUTES HAVE been paid to the first chief executive of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the global Chartered body for safety and health professionals.

John Barrell OBE, who served as IOSH Chief Executive between 1981 – 2000, passed away last week aged 83.

John started with IOSH in 1978 as company secretary. He was awarded his OBE in 1996, and after retiring from his role as Chief Executive served as an Honorary Vice-President at IOSH until the time of his death.

IOSH was founded in 1945 when the Institution of Industrial Safety Officers (IISO) was formed as a division of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). In 1981, the IISO was renamed as the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health and in 2002 was awarded a Royal Charter.

Tributes have been made by former and current members of staff who worked alongside John:

 “John was an amazing person, he gave me a fantastic opportunity in my career and I will never forget him or his loyalty.”

 “John was a true inspiration and a lovely man.”

“John was an amazing lovely person, who was dedicated to Health and Safety and will be truly missed.”

Bev Messinger, who has served as IOSH chief executive since October 2016, said, “IOSH’s shared objective is a world where work is safe and healthy for every working person, every day. John’s legacy, leading IOSH from its inception and pioneering the importance of safety and health in the workplace at this critical time, was vital in shaping the organisation and wider profession we see today.”