Ex-soldier blown up in minefield to recount story at health and safety conference

A former soldier who was blown up in a minefield and survived being captured by notorious Khmer Rouge guerrillas in Cambodia will share his insights and experience at a leading health and safety conference.

Chris Moon MBE lost an arm and a leg in the 1995 explosion in a supposedly safe area of a minefield in a remote part of East Africa. He has since turned to marathon running and motivational speaking, focusing on risk management.

He will keynote speaker at the annual Food and Drink Manufacturing Health and Safety Conference, which is co-organised by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) Food and Drink Industries Group.

Chris had three years’ operational experience as a British Army officer before moving into charity work clearing landmines in Asia and Africa. He survived being taken prisoner in Cambodia by Khmer Rouge – one of the most brutal terror groups in history – and negotiated his release and that of two colleagues from threatened execution.

In 1995, he suffered bad injuries in the mine explosion in Mozambique in an area which was believed to have been cleared. On arriving at hospital in South Africa, doctors said they had never known anyone survive with so much blood loss.

Chris recovered and, despite his loss of limbs, has turned to running for charity, finishing more than 15 marathons. These include the Marathon des Sables, which is a 137-mile race across the Sahara and is considered the toughest foot race on earth.

He said: “At the conference, I will be looking to share my experience around safety behaviour. During my time as an Army officer, I led a lot of high-risk operations. Clearing landmines was also a high-risk activity. And running ultra-distance events is also high-risk.

“The ironic thing is that what was supposed to be the least dangerous thing I did in my work led to me being injured.

“I think it is crucial that we avoid any complacency when managing risk. People think ‘it will never happen to them’. We need to guard against this complacency.

“We also need to consider sub-cultures, in that most people will do the right things when their boss is looking but not at other times. It is very important when it comes to risk management that they do this all of the time.”

The conference will be held on 1-2 October at Double Tree by Hilton Forest Pines Spa and Golf Resort in Broughton, near Doncaster.

Delegates will also hear from Mark Heath, Deputy Director of Business Change at the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, who will update on their work to tackle the exploitation of working people.

Clare Forshaw, Occupational Health and Hygiene Partner at Park Health and Safety, will review common health problems faced by employees and how they can be managed, while Ben Bennett, Managing Director of Luminous Group, will explore how technology can enhance health and safety training.

Meanwhile, IOSH’s Director of Strategy and Business Development Richard Orton will examine ‘the safe and healthy route to going global’ and Dr John Rowe, Head of Manufacturing and Utilities at the Health and Safety Executive, will discuss their strategy for the next decade.

Neil Catton, chair of the working party which organises the conference and member of the IOSH group, will reflect on his own personal story about the value of health and safety.

You can book your ticket for the conference here.

Marcus Boocock
Communications Officer +44 (0)116 257 3139
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