Enthusiasm, fulfilment and a 30+ year distraction

Ian Coombes began his working life as an mechanical production engineer. He's one of those people who likes to make things.

Ian was one of a group of people who first got together just over thirty years ago to set the foundations for NEBOSH.

His involvement in health and safety began in the mid-1970s, shortly after the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. His employers asked him to take on a health and safety project. He wasn't too keen at first. He thought the project would be nothing more than a "distraction" from his career.

Instead, he discovered that health and safety involved him in every part of the business. And as often happens with project work, his enthusiasm grew, he achieved things and he wanted to achieve more.

Eager for knowledge, he took what health and safety courses he could. But he could see there was a need for a clearer path towards becoming a recognised health and safety professional.

A few years later in 1979, when the idea of a new health and safety examining board and a new set of professional qualifications emerged, Ian jumped on board. He wanted to help make NEBOSH happen.

He was one of the first NEBOSH examiners. He put together course materials and text books. He became a Director at NEBOSH. Later, as NEBOSH began to expand its horizons overseas, Ian taught students in Kuwait and health and safety professionals seeking their NEBOSH Diploma in Trinidad.

Besides NEBOSH, Ian has helped shape IOSH and Safety Groups UK. He was also behind the launch and success of the International Safety Rating System in the UK.

However, Ian's biggest project began in 1989, when he started his own business, ACT Associates Ltd. His company provides safety, health and environmental consultancy and training - including NEBOSH training, of course.

Through his business, and his involvement with NEBOSH, Ian has helped a tremendous number of people develop into health and safety professionals over the past 30 years. He's proud of that.

And health and safety was certainly a distraction - one that's lasted more than thirty years.

Portait of Ian Coombes