Guest blog with Errol Taylor

Here, we interview Errol Taylor, Chief Executive of The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), about the role of the organisation, the importance placed upon its awards, and the reasons behind VWT UK’s continual recognition and success.

Firstly, can you tell us a bit about RoSPA?

RoSPA is a UK-based charity with a vision of life, free from serious accidental injury, worldwide. We strive for this through our mission of exchanging life enhancing skills and knowledge to reduce serious accidental injuries. For more than 100 years, we have been at the heart of accident prevention for workplaces, on the roads, in homes, in education and in leisure pursuits.

Can you also offer an overview of RoSPA’s annual Health & Safety Awards?

Our internationally-renowned awards are one of the key ways in which we can achieve our vision around the globe. Now into its 65th year, our most recent annual awards had almost 2,000 entries from 42 countries. That means the good practice promoted and spread by the RoSPA awards has reached more than seven million employees and their families worldwide.

Why is it so important that charities like RoSPA recognise achievement in terms of health and safety management and procedure?

By shining a light on the best of our sector, we encourage and enable others to strive for those standards. This means that we can help more people to return home safe and well to their families at the end of every working day. We also encourage employees to take safe working practices beyond the workplace and into their homes and local communities. This is great for both employees and employers because there is a strong relationship between a healthy, happy workforce and business success.

What are the key factors you look out for when selecting a RoSPA Gold medallist?

Gold Award entrants typically demonstrate a number of factors, including excellent occupational health and safety management systems (such as strong audit results) and culture; a rigorous approach to occupational health; high levels of compliance with control measures for risks; low or reducing rates of error, harm and loss; no fatal or major injuries due to employer negligence; and no significant enforcement issues.

Veolia Water Technologies UK is incredibly proud to have received 17 consecutive Gold achievement awards to date, from which it has also been awarded an Order of Distinction. What does it take to achieve this level of recognition by the judges?

The sustained-achievement award categories celebrate continuous ‘hold level’ performance for five to nine years (Gold Medal), 10 to 14 years (President’s Award), 15 to 24 years (Order of Distinction) and 25+ years (Patron’s Award). These categories, including the 2020 Order of Distinction currently held by VWT UK, reward Gold-winning organisations that are able to consistently meet our highest-level achievement award requirements over a sustained period of time. This is typically a good indicator that a strong health and safety culture is embedded within the company.

Entrants must also demonstrate consistent high performance across a range of different health and safety management themes within the entry submission and provide documentation to back up claims. RoSPA’s achievement award explores all the key disciplines we would expect to see in a high-quality health and safety management system, such as risk assessment, active monitoring and accident investigation policies.

To maintain such a high performance over a sustained period of time is in itself a remarkable achievement and an impressive reflection of a very positive organisational culture.

How can entering the RoSPA awards benefit a company and why should they enter?

An organisation will be able to demonstrate health and safety performance to its staff, peers and wider stakeholders, while benchmarking performance to ensure consistent progress in the years to come.

Those who are developing their health and safety systems will also benefit from the strong and friendly awards community, embodied by our Awards Excellence Forum, where there are lots of learning and mentoring opportunities. For individual practitioners, entering the awards and going through the submission process also counts towards your CPD, as well as the seal of approval from the most prestigious health and safety awards scheme in the world.

What would you like to see in the future from those entering the RoSPA Health & Safety Awards?

We are consistently updating our judging criteria to ensure that the awards keep pace with the latest developments in practice and technology and to encourage continual learning and progress from our entrants. For 2021, we will be expecting entrants to demonstrate how they reacted to the coronavirus pandemic and kept their staff free from infection while still enabling their organisations to continue to work.


For more information about RoSPA and its awards, please click here.

To find out more about VWT UK’s health and safety policies and certifications, please click here.


Errol Taylor

About the Author

Errol Taylor

Errol Taylor is the Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, one of the world’s leading safety charities. A keen proponent of partnership working, Errol is also the non-executive Chairman of EuroSafe and a member of the advisory board to the Office for Product Safety and Standards. He has also supported the work of the Chief Fire Officer’s Association and the National Water Safety Forum.