BOHS, the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection, is delighted to announce its new President for 2017/2018: Karen Bufton, a highly qualified occupational hygienist with a wealth of experience in a wide range of fields, now takes over from Tracy Boyle, who becomes the Society’s Immediate Past-President.

Karen has a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of Bradford; is a Chartered Member of BOHS, and a Member of BOHS’ Faculty of Occupational Hygiene; and holds the Diploma of Professional Competence in Occupational Hygiene from BOHS.

Karen has over 20 years’ occupational hygiene experience within the petrochemical, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries, and has worked in a wide range of different environments, including: chemical and gas plants; oil refineries; oil and gas offshore platforms; manufacturing sites; research facilities; and corporate headquarters.

Beginning her career at BP, Karen then moved to the pharmaceutical industry to work for Eli Lilly and Company. This was followed by a move into the industrial manufacturing sector, working for the Linde Group; and a next move back to the oil and gas industry, working for the BG Group. She is currently Health Operations Manager and Senior Occupational Hygienist at Shell International.

Commenting on her new role as the Society’s President, Karen said, “I am extremely proud and honoured to be elected as BOHS President.  Throughout my career, I have been driven to improve worker health protection: this has not always been easy, mainly due to a lack of awareness and understanding of the fatal and disabling health effects of exposure to workplace health hazards, and the perception of what occupational hygiene is all about.  Encouragingly, however, during my more recent career and particularly in the last five years, there has been an increasing awareness of the occupational ill health epidemic and the pressing need to improve worker health protection.”

She added, “To this day, the statistics make shocking reading and keep me even more motivated – over 13,000 people die every year as a result of exposure to workplace health hazards, compared to around 150 people who die from workplace accidents. These numbers are unacceptably high. In addition to the tragic deaths, there are also around 1.3 million people suffering from occupational ill health in any one year, with another 0.5 million new cases annually. It’s vital that this situation does not continue any longer: we need to raise the awareness and priority of worker health protection, and change this disturbing trend for workers in the UK.”

Steve Perkins, Chief Executive of BOHS, said, “I‘m delighted to welcome Karen as the Society’s new President. As a valued and active Chartered Member of BOHS, Karen brings to the position a vast and valuable amount of knowledge and experience across numerous sectors, gained within many different on-site environments.  We greatly look forward to drawing on her invaluable skills and working together to continue to build our community, as we continue our strategic aim of becoming the premier forum for information and expertise about worker health protection – in support of our vision for a healthy working environment for everyone.”