Safe Work Australia discontinues national work health and safety awards

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The annual Safe Work Australia Awards program, which over the past 10 years has recognised and rewarded people who have made a difference in work health and safety at a national level has been discontinued.

A few expressed disappointment that the awards have been discontinued, but Safe Work Australia says they will continue to recognise and promote work health and safety excellence at a national level through several strategies which are potentially more efficient and effective.

In commenting on the discontinuing of the awards, a Safe Work Australia spokesperson told SafetyCulture that Safe Work Australia members have agreed to dropping the national awards program starting this year.

“While prestigious and well-respected, the Safe Work Australia Awards were resource intensive, had a limited media reach and required extensive planning and resourcing,” the spokesperson said.

“The audience was restricted to ceremony attendees who usually already understood the importance of work health and safety.”

Australia’s safety watchdog acknowledged the importance of recognising those who have worked hard to make a positive impact to work health and safety, but gave more weight to promoting workplace safety awareness to more people.

“Since the cessation of the national awards programme in 2014, Safe Work Australia has concentrated on raising community awareness of work health and safety and promoting best practice in more efficient and effective ways,” the SWA spokesperson told SafetyCulture.

“Safe Work Australia is exploring the best ways to do this and currently recognises and promotes best practice in work health and safety excellence at a national level by:

  • promoting and supporting jurisdictional awards and events. We currently promote and support the national, state and territory 2015 awards and will showcase their winners
  • showcasing best practice via the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2002 through case studies, and
  • introducing and sponsoring WHS awards into national industry or other relevant national awards. For example, we sponsor a Work Health and Safety reporting Award as part of the Australasian reporting Awards. Over the coming years we are looking at other opportunities.

Recognising and rewarding workers and organisations which have contributed to improving work health and safety are just two of the ways to promote safe and productive workplaces in the country. Investing in good and sustainable safety programs and creating a positive safety culture at work are important so as to reduce the number of work-related injuries and deaths.

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Finalists during the 9th annual Safe Work Australia awards in 2014. Photo: Safe Work Australia

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