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IOSH Awards dinner

Judith Hackitt CBE, HSE Chair

21 October 2009

It’s a great pleasure for me to address you all this evening at the start of this [second] annual IOSH/SHP Awards dinner.

It’s become part and parcel of our lives today that the ongoing stream of press stories constantly try to devalue the important work of everyone in this room and the outstanding achievements we are here to celebrate tonight.

It is a personal passion of mine that we need to stand up for what real health and safety is all about and make a clear distinction between that and the trivia and nonsense which goes on in the name of elf and safety.  I am extremely pleased to see IOSH’s latest campaign which also strongly supports this theme entitled “Stop Taking the Myth” – or perhaps that should really be “Stop Taking the Pith”!

Tonight we will see 15 awards given for outstanding achievement in real health and safety in sectors ranging from construction to retail and leisure, award for campaigns, for partnerships and for outstanding individual achievement.

But as well as the 15 winners, there are many more people here tonight who deserve to be congratulated because I am sure that many of the judging panels had to make some very difficult choices in picking winners in each category.  Even if you are not a prize winner this evening you are to be congratulated for what you have done which has made a difference to people’s lives – maybe even saved lives.  Because that’s what we are committed to doing – preventing death, injury and illness to those at work and those affected by working activities.

I’d be pretty sure too, that all of the achievements we are here to celebrate tonight have produced real business benefits because contrary to many of the popular myths – doing health and safety properly is about common sense, practical solutions that enable work to go ahead more efficiently and without incident and interruption.

Again, I want to congratulate IOSH who along with CIEH and others have responded very positively to HSE’s call for the development of an approach to competency and recognition among Health and Safety professionals where competence is measured not only by how much you know but by how well you are able to apply that knowledge – sensibly, proportionately and ethically.  We are very much looking forward to the development of this important pilot project which is already underway.

Finally, I’d like to say a personal thank you to Nattasha Freeman for all of her hard work as IOSH President over the last year and to say how much we in HSE value the very strong relationship we have with IOSH.  I wish John Holden, the incoming President, all the very best for his forthcoming year as president.

Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy your evening, never forget why we do what we do, celebrate your success and our collective achievement in saving lives and protecting people from harm.  We can and should be proud of what we do and we will collectively put a stop to all those others who continue to “Take the Myth”.

Thank you.

Updated 2010-07-28