Our inaugural Health and Safety Awards could not have been more timely.
The gala dinner, attended by a 730-strong audience at London's Hilton on 19 May, came just a week after news that a second national Safety Summit will be staged in March 2005. It also came a week after a National Audit Office report raised concerns that the industry was struggling to meet its targets for reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on site. If there was ever a moment for Building to implore the industry to engender a healthier and safer culture, this is it.

The purpose of the awards – organised in association with the Health and Safety Executive – was partly, then, to persuade bosses everywhere to think more about their responsibilities to their workforce. And not just contractors, but clients, designers and manufacturers too – indeed everyone in the supply chain, emphasising collective responsibility. At the same time, the awards were designed to mark real progress that has been made by many firms, evident in the winning entries to the 2004 Health and Safety Awards that are shown over the next 13 pages.

Hats off to all the winners, and congratulations to those shortlisted, too. Many thanks also to our sponsors, who share our commitment to a healthier and safer working environment. Let's hope that next year's event – in the afterglow of the summit – will mark even more progress.