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Royal recognition for Donald Lamont Jun 2011
Shani Wallis, TunnelTalk
The Queen's Birthday Honours List this year recognizes the work of one of our own. Donald Lamont, so well known throughout the national and international tunneling community, has been honoured with an MBE for services to health and safety in tunnel construction and to operational safety in the Channel Tunnel as HM Principal Specialist Inspector in the HSE, the UK Health and Safety Executive.
MBE recognition for Donald Lamont

MBE recognition for Donald Lamont

The award, known historically as Member of the Order of the British Empire, was announced on 11 June in recognition of services to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Donald's is one of 965 recommendations to the Queen for her birthday honours list.
Speaking of the accolade, Donald explained its particular significance. "Over the years, the greatest change in the field of safety has been the change of attitudes," he said. "On tunnel construction projects there is greater awareness by senior managers of contractors and clients that it is not only the safety of the workers on site, but also protection of their health and welfare. This is exemplified by the work completed by the BTS into the prevention of the hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), for example. In the area of safety in operating tunnels, change is focused on the response to fires.
Together with save evacuation procedures, there is the move towards installation of fire suppression systems to contain and control fires. A great deal of work has been carried out in the area of understanding fires and the systems for bringing them under control to limit damage to the infrastructure, rather than allowing them to burn themselves out."
Queen's MBE medal

Queen's MBE medal

Donald has contributed significantly towards these changes of attitude and the tunnelling industry takes pride with him in his award.
After graduating with a B.Sc(Eng) degree in Civil Engineering from Aberdeen University, Donald continued his academic studies with an M.Eng in Geotechnical and Highway Engineering from Glasgow University, and a Post-graduate Diploma in Occupational Health & Safety from Aston University, Birmingham. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (FICE) and a long term active member of the BTS, British Tunnelling Society, and of the ITA, International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association.
In 1983 he joined the HSE, becoming Principal Specialist Inspector of Health and Safety (Civil Engineering).
During his 27 years with the HSE, he monitored health and safety issues on a large number of tunnelling projects in the UK as well as abroad. He is the BTS representative for the UK at the ITA General Assembly and is Animateur of the ITA Working Group 5 on Health and Safety in Tunnel Works. He is the Civil Engineering Inspector for the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority and is also a UK representative on the European CEN committee on tunnelling machinery safety.
Engineering honours
As well as Dr Lamont, other outstanding members of the civil engineering fraternity were recognised with awards. Among them is Professor Paul Jowitt, Professor of Civil Engineering Systems, Heriot Watt University ,and immediate past President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, for services to technology; Terence Hill, Chairman of the Arup Group for services to civil engineering; and David Higgins, recently Chief Executive of the Olympics Delivery Authority for services to regeneration.
A particular focus has been advancement of safe working in compressed air with a study of decompression illness in UK tunnellers earning him a PhD from Aston University, Birmingham in 2007 for his thesis Decompression illness and its regulation in contemporary UK tunnelling - an engineering perspective.
On retiring from the HSE at the end of August 2010, Donald established his own Hyperbaric & Tunnelling Safety Ltd consultancy practice. In that capacity, and among other projects, he is engaged as a specialist advisor in the construction management team of the large diameter TBM highway tunnel project for the replacement of the Alaskan Way elevated highway in Seattle, Washington.
In accepting the honour, Donald said: "I am obviously thrilled personally but I also think it is a recognition for tunnelling as a whole."
References
PPE last line of defence for safety at work - TunnelTalk, Sep 2010
ITA Working Groups in focus - TunnelCast, May 2010
Eurotunnel back to full capacity - TunnelTalk, Feb 2009
Alaskan Way selects construction management - TunnelTalk, April 2011
Specifications for pressure testing in-tunnel air locks and bulkheads - TunnelTalk, Feb 2009
UK HSE
British Tunnelling Society Guidelines and Codes of Best Practice publications
ITA

           

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