STUDENTS and staff at Darlington College of Technology are in safe hands, because their health and safety advisor has achieved national recognition for being a leading light in his field.

Ian Bradley has been elected to the Fellowship of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, the culmination of ten years' work.

To achieve the accolade, Mr Bradley had to reach the highest level of expertise possible in his field.

As well as his work at the college, he could be called upon nationally to advise on a host of safety issues.

The 51-year-old, of Heighington, Darlington, said: "We are training young people to enter professions and vocations and it is essential to have health and safety awareness to make sure they are ready for employment."

He said it was too easy for society to underplay the importance of safety in education compared with industry.

"But we send students all over Europe taking part in nearly every activity possible," he said.

"In college we have our own nursery, and there is a full range of hazards to consider associated with courses in engineering, construction, catering, even performing arts.

"Risk assessments must be carried out on all of these to ensure students are kept safe. Accidents can happen and it is essential we get it right."