A memorial event was held in Sheffield today in tribute to Simon Pickvance, a pioneer of occupational health and protection of people at work.
Mr Pickvance spent more than 40 years researching links between work and diseases, breaking new ground and enabling steps to be taken to protect workers.
His advances also helped workers win compensation for work-related illnesses.
He discovered a link between chemicals used in the steel industry and bladder cancer, among other discoveries.
In his early years working in occupational health in the 1970s little funding was available.
Simon worked six months of the year on building sites to fund the work he really loved for the other six months.
Sadly it was the building work which brought him into contact with asbestos, resulting in the incurable lung cancer mesothelioma which killed him. He was 63.
He was a founder more than 30 years ago of Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service.
In a statement his colleagues there said: "He saw a need to work on behalf of those who were damaged by their employment and worked tirelessly towards raising awareness of harmful working conditions and obtaining redress for those who had suffered.
"He continued this work even after retirement contributing to research into the causes of bladder cancer.
"Simon was a complex and witty man who did not suffer fools gladly, as many employers have found to their cost.
"Anyone who met Simon came away knowing he was someone with an unrivalled knowledge and an enormous passion and dedication to helping people whose health had been affected by their work."
The memorial and celebration of his life took place at Crookes Social Club in Sheffield.
Among those attending were two Venezuelan trade unionists on a speaking tour of Britain - Jacobo Torres and Carlos Lopez - and Tosh McDonald, vice-president of train drivers' union Aslef.
The Venezuelan visitors spoke at a public meeting in Sheffield last night.
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