Health and Safety heroes announced

Improvements in health and safety practice across the University have been recognised by the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Health and Safety 2014.

The St Mark's Residences Site Team, with Paul Veevers, Gary Tideswell and Sir Alan Langlands


The awards were open to all staff members and students, honouring those who showed innovation, dedication and the power to inspire others through their exceptional health and safety practice.

Winner of the headline Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Health and Safety, as well as the award for Driving Health and Safety Change, was The Edge’s Assistant Duty Manager, Gemma Smales.  Gemma has improved the fire evacuation and poolside safety instructions used at The Edge, making them clearer and easier to follow.  She has also introduced the use of real life scenarios in staff safety training, giving it greater authenticity and relevance.

Presenting the Award, the Vice-Chancellor said: “The judges of the competition were looking for a really inspirational project or team. Of course, these things are very difficult to quantify so I’d like to congratulate all the entrants; however, based on impact, likely sustainability, energy and determination, Gemma was a clear winner.  In addition to carrying out her role, she found new ways of improving health and safety at the Edge. Her efforts have transformed pool safety by creating accessible new guidelines for her colleagues, developing and running an innovation training session for 38 staff, and running regular, monthly refresher courses.  As a result, we have great health and safety in the pool, the lifeguard team’s professionalism has been recognised in a national competition and, most importantly, nine rescues have been carried out this year.”

Winners of the other Award categories were:

Unsung hero: Ailsa Rose (Faculty of Medicine and Health)

Team which has made a health and safety change: Jonathan Matthews and Colin Richardson, (Estates, Grounds and Gardens, Facilities Directorate)

Supporting health and safety: St Mark’s Residences Site Team (Facilities Directorate)

Beacons of good practice: St Mark’s Residences Site Team (Facilities Directorate); Dom Emery and Rebecca Sellers (Faculty of Environment); Faculty of Engineering Employability Team

Certificates of commendation: David Banks (Faculty of Environment); stage@leeds/PCI technical team (Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications)

Download full details of winners’ achievements and a list other award nominees.

Homepage picture shows Sir Alan Langlands with Gemma Smales.

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