Tributes paid to ILEVE stalwart who sought safer workplaces

Obituary for ILEVE technical coordinator, James Wheeler

The July CIBSE Journal reported the untimely death of James Wheeler, technical co-ordinator for the Institute of Local Exhaust Ventilation Engineers (ILEVE).

Initially trained as a medical laboratory chemist, James joined the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) nearly 30 years ago. Initially working in the biochemical laboratory, he moved into exposure control work, becoming a fully qualified principal inspector. In this role, James was responsible for controlling risks to people’s health and safety from using hazardous substances. He gave technical support and advice on occupational hygiene aspects of LEV engineering controls and nanotechnology to HSE Policy Units, other government departments and external industry stakeholders, trade bodies and the wider public.

James was HSE’s core technical expert on substances hazardous to health, and engineering controls to reduce workplace exposure. When ILEVE was formed in 2010 as a specialist engineering-based division of CIBSE, James was a dedicated member of its steering committee, linking the regulatory body and LEV industry. He was deeply committed to the creation and use of knowledge to benefit all, having seen at first hand the life changing consequences of exposure to hazardous substances caused by inadequate engineering controls. The most high profile example, Phil the welder, became a subject of a public awareness video to raise awareness of the risks of welding fume. See

On retiring from the HSE, he became ILEVE technical co-ordinator. His passing curtailed his ambitions in that role, but he leaves a core group of ILEVE members and colleagues from the HSE both inspired by his memory and committed to deliver safer workplaces.