RoSPA honours local groups for workplace safety endeavours

Sixteen voluntary groups have been honoured for their efforts in making local workplaces safer.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) handed out gold, silver and bronze honours at the annual Alan Butler Awards, which recognise excellence and achievement of organisations within the Safety Groups UK movement.
Safety Groups UK is made up of around 70 local groups, which each consist of health and safety professionals who give up their free time to promote, share information and offer practical help to employers in their communities in a bid to prevent accidents and ill health at work.

Northern Ireland Safety Group was one of five organisations to gain a Gold Award and also clinched the top accolade of overall Alan Butler Award winner. Members were praised for their creative use of the internet, including ebulletins and using social media to communicate messages more widely.

An independent panel of judges was also impressed with the Group’s close links with other organisations including the National Irish Safety Organisation (NISO) and the CITB construction training board.

Lord Brougham and Vaux, president of Safety Groups UK, presented the awards during a ceremony at the House of Lords on Monday (January 21).

Alan Butler Award winners honoured for work carried out during 2012 were:

• Gold Award and Alan Butler overall winner: Northern Ireland Safety Group
• Other Gold Awards: Birmingham Health, Safety and Environment Association; Isle of Wight Health and Safety Group; Mid-Anglia Environment, Safety and Health Group; and Sheffield Occupational Health and Safety Association
• Silver Awards: Central Scotland Safety Forum; Harrogate and District Health and Safety Forum; Manchester Occupational Health and Safety Group; North East SHE Partnership; North Lincs Health and Safety Group; North Staffordshire Health and Safety Group; North West Wales Occupational Health and Safety Group; Swansea and West Wales Occupational Safety Group; and Wiltshire Occupational Safety and Health Association
• Bronze Awards: Thames Valley Health and Safety Group; and The Peterborough Environmental, Occupational Safety and Health Group.

Judges considered factors such as how groups communicated with the community and other members; their programme of events, seminars and topics offered through the year; member recruitment and retention; and how groups supported the Health and Safety Executive and its strategy.

A separate prize for outstanding individual commitment to safety groups – the Maurice Adamson Award – was presented to Mike Nixon from Manchester Occupational Health and Safety Group, who is also treasurer for Safety Groups UK.
Mike, a member of the Manchester group for more than 20 years and its treasurer since 1995, was nominated for always being at the forefront of organising events, supporting fellow members and trying to obtain the best investments to maximise funds.
His recent achievement was to set up the Group’s NEBOSH Scholarship Awards to improve standards of health, safety and welfare within a workplace. It allows a candidate from a small company or a self-funded individual to receive ultimately free training for the award of the NEBOSH National General Certificate or the NEBOSH Construction Certificate.
David Eves, former vice-president of Safety Groups UK and former deputy director general of the Health and Safety Executive, was also recognised during the event for his services to the safety group movement. Since his retirement, Mr Eves has played an important role in championing the work of groups and acting as an ambassador for Safety Groups UK.
Roger Bibbings, occupational safety adviser for RoSPA and secretary of Safety Groups UK, said: “These awards rightfully recognise the achievements of many hard-working people who give up their time free-of-charge to make a difference to health and safety at companies in their area, particularly small firms.

“Judges were impressed with the tireless efforts of these safety groups, which often goes unrecognised. The Northern Ireland group was particularly impressive for its outstanding newsletter, Safe and Sound, along with focussing on topics like asbestos and developing customised support for smaller businesses.”

RoSPA is linked to Safety Groups UK as it provides the secretariat for the organisation and hosts its website – The Alan Butler Awards are sponsored by BT.


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