At Building’s annual Health and Safety Awards held at the London Hilton on Park Lane last Thursday, almost 800 guests celebrated the achievements of the industry – and especially those of Bovis boss John Spanswick, who won the Outstanding Safety Achievement award …

Almost 800 construction guests gathered at London’s Hilton hotel last week to pay tribute to the industry’s improvements in safety as Building gave out its annual Health and Safety Awards.

Guests at the event, which was held last Thursday, were addressed by Stephen Williams, chief inspector for construction at the Health and Safety Executive, who urged all companies to follow the lead of the award winners to improve safety across the industry.

Among the victors was Bovis Lend Lease chief executive John Spanswick, whose efforts were recognised with an Outstanding Safety Achievement award.

Speaking at the ceremony, Stephen Williams said: “I encourage you all to make a personal commitment tonight to help improve the health, safety and welfare of those who work in, or are affected by the construction industry.”

Williams added that early indications suggested injury rates in the industry had continued to decline over the past year, a pattern that has been evident since the government-backed safety summit in 2001.

He said: “One lost life, one injury and one case of ill health is one too many … [But] I am personally convinced that improvements in health and safety can be made if people take ownership of the management of risk, demonstrate leadership and work in partnership with others.”

Award winners included Heathrow Terminal 5 client BAA, which was honoured for being the industry’s most far-sighted client in terms of health and safety. BAA has incorporated occupational health clinics onto its sites, and provides workers with nutritious food and a free advice centre.

Skanska picked up the award for best major contractor’s safety initiative, with David Wilson Homes collecting the prize in the housebuilding sector. Logistics specialist Wilson James won the award for best site facilities, while Willmott Dixon took home the Best Public Safety Initiative award for its campaign to stop schoolchildren playing on construction sites.