Guidance notes

The British Safety Council's International Safety Awards scheme recognises commitment to occupational health, safety and wellbeing. These guidance notes cover the key changes to the 2021 scheme, along with useful information about important dates, eligibility and completing the application.

Remember to read the 2020 International Safety Awards Chief Adjudicators report for tips and advice on completing your application.

Award categories

International Safety Award

Recognises commitment to exemplary health, safety and wellbeing management. Award submissions are site specific. Successful applicants will be awarded Distinction, Merit or Pass grades based on their final score. There is no quota of grades to be awarded. All applicants are invited to celebrate their success at the International Safety Awards Gala Dinner in 2023.

Sector Awards

Recognise overall 'best in class' submissions to the International Safety Awards, by industry sector. This is a great way to stand out amongst peers and encourages best practice. 

Sector Award categories are: 

  • Manufacturing 
  • Oil, gas, mining and quarrying
  • Power and utilities
  • Construction and property activities 
  • Wholesale and retail services
  • Transportation, distribution and storage 
  • Leisure, sports clubs, hospitality and catering
  • Art and culture – museums, galleries
  • Education 
  • Health and social care 
  • Not for profit 
  • Financial, IT, legal, scientific and technical services, media 
  • Local government, defence and public services 
  • Onshore major hazard.

Best in Country Award

All International Safety Award applicants are entered into this award, provided there is a significant number of applications from the same country. The highest scoring and best overall application will be awarded.

Best in Company Award

This award is for organisations with 50 or more participating sites and recognises the site(s) with the most outstanding applications. 

International Safety Awards applicants can enter the following three awards. Questions have been provided within your application form. Only one application per category, per site/business unit will be accepted.

Health Safety and Wellbeing Ambassador of the Year Award

The Health, Safety and Wellbeing Ambassador of the year Award recognises an employee who, in your opinion, has played a significant role to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of colleagues and others. The nominee's primary role does not need to be health and safety.

Applications are now closed.

Team of the Year Award

The Team of the Year Award recognises the outstanding achievements resulting in a significant improvement to health, safety or wellbeing from a collaboration of stakeholders which may include members of the organisation, suppliers, subcontractors and/or the wider community.

Applications are now closed.

Free to enter awards

The James Tye Award

Recognition for an organisation or a team of individuals who have developed and run a campaign in 2022 that has made a significant impact on the health, safety or wellbeing in the workplace.


Applications are now closed.

Health and Safety Transformation Award - Sponsored by Croner-i

This category is for organisations that have significantly changed or transformed any aspect of health, safety or wellbeing to a significant extent through the use of information. Applicants will be asked to describe the transformation, how it was planned, what information was used to help achieve the transformation and what positive impact it has had on the organisation.


Applications are now closed.

Wellbeing Initiative Award Powered by Being Well Together

This award recognises and rewards those organisations that have demonstrated a proactive and effective approach to improving employee wellbeing.

Applications are now closed.

Seize the Opportunity Award

This award recognises organisations that have gone the extra mile to seize health, safety or wellbeing opportunities resulting from a crisis. In being nominated for this award, the organisation is agreeing to their name and photograph being used by the British Safety Council in various media channels to recognise their achievement.

Applications are now closed.


Getting started

A guide to using our application system


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Watch the video for a step-by-step guide on how to purchase and assign application licenses as well as saving and submitting your application.

  1. Purchase your entry licence(s) (one per site/business unit)
  2. Allocate licence(s) to yourself or colleagues to complete the application
  3. Read the questions and marking scheme carefully
  4. Complete your application
  5. Submit your application by 23:59 on 19 February 2021.

Key dates

30 October 2020 Early bird deadline
26 February 2021 Application submission deadline
25 March 2021 Results emailed to applicants
26 March 2021 Winners list published
16 March 2021 Result enquiry deadline



Each application covers a single site or business unit. Applicants wishing to enter several sites or business units must complete a separate application for each one.

Between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2020 the site/business unit must not have:

  • suffered any work-related fatalities
  • been subject to any prohibition notices
  • been the subject of any convictions in relation to health and safety
  • had any ongoing criminal investigations or prosecutions pending in relation to health and safety at the site/business unit.

British Safety Council reserves the right to withhold, suspend or withdraw at any time the awarding of an International Safety Award, should any applicant organisation have not met the eligibility criteria or failed to fully disclose all material facts which bring their eligibility into question.

Applicants must inform British Safety Council in writing by emailing [email protected] when there are any changes in circumstances after the application has been submitted.

Where there are issues that fall outside of the eligibility period, British Safety Council reserves the right to withdraw any award, particularly where the scheme could be brought into disrepute, or making an award could be insensitive e.g. to victims or their families. Where issues are subject to an enquiry or proceedings, a subsequent award may be made depending on the outcome.

Improvement notices
An improvement notice at the site does not preclude applicants from entering for an award. However, if an improvement notice has been served at this site since 1 January 2020, applicants must declare this and satisfy the adjudicators that adequate remedial measures have been implemented.

Specified (reportable) injuries/occupational ill health/dangerous occurrences
A specified (reportable) injury, incidence of occupational ill health or dangerous occurrence at the site does not preclude applicants from entering for an award. However, if there has been such an incident at this site since 1 January 2020, applicants must declare this and satisfy the adjudicators that appropriate remedial actions have been implemented to minimise the risk of a similar incident occurring again.


Completing the application

How to optimise your International Safety Awards application


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  1. Get an early start. Do not complete this application in a rush
  2. Provide comprehensive, detailed answers to questions 1 and 2, as these answers form the basis of site-specific knowledge and context that the adjudicators will be relying on when they mark the remaining questions. While these questions are not scored, information provided here will link to subsequent questions and adjudicators will be looking for this connection in order to award the higher marks
  3. Make sure your answers to questions 3-12 relate to the background information you have provided in questions 1 and 2
  4. Refer to the marking scheme for essential question-specific details of what the adjudicators will be looking for. Failure to adhere to the marking scheme will negatively impact your result
  5. Prepare responses offline using, for example, Microsoft Word, and only copy and paste your answers into your online application when you are sure your answer is final. Alternatively, if typing your answers straight into the online application software, remember to save each individual answer as you proceed through the application
  6. Give your application to other stakeholders to review and adapt your answers incorporating all relevant feedback
  7. Review application answers: questions 1 and 2 must provide a thorough, detailed picture of your specific site. Answers 3-12 must adhere closely to the marking scheme notes. Evidence uploaded for 'part b' questions must meet the evidence criteria found in the marking scheme.

Application completion instructions

  • All applications must be submitted in English
  • All applications must be submitted via our online system
  • All questions must be answered
  • The response to each question must not exceed 700 words
  • All questions are designed to be answered in plain text only (submissions must not incorporate images, tables, graphs or similar)
  • Supporting documents are only permitted for 'part b' questions.

Submitting your application

  • Applications must be received by 23:59 GMT on 19 February 2021
  • Late applications will NOT be accepted.

Bonus marks

Evidence-based bonus marks
Bonus marks will be awarded for (optional) relevant evidence submitted for five out of the 10 questions. Bonus marks will only be awarded for evidence that is relevant to the question and meets all the criteria outlined in the marking scheme.

Achievement-based bonus marks
A maximum of three further bonus marks will be awarded to applications relating to sites that have achieved three stars or above in the British Safety Council Five Star Occupational Health and Safety Audit (valid for at least six months of the eligiblt year); and those who can provide evidence of a current and valid OHSAS 18001 or ISO 45001 certification relating to the applicant site.

Adjudication process

The responsibility is on applicants to convince the panel of independent adjudicators that their site/business unit deserves an International Safety Award based on its commitment to health and safety management during 2020.

Applications are marked by a team of independent adjudicators appointed and trained by the British Safety Council. The adjudicators are all experienced, senior-level health and safety professionals in their respective organisations.

Results, result enquiries and feedback

Results will be emailed to applicants and published on our website on March 10 2021.

Result notifications will include the total number of marks scored and the grade awarded.

Results will not be issued by telephone.

We will publish information concerning the winning organisations to promote the International Safety Awards, the Gala Dinner and to help disseminate best practice.

Due to the large number of applications. British Safety Council is unable to include individual feedback with result notifications. The Chief Adjudicator's Report will be available on our website, detailing the strengths and weaknesses observed across all applications.

Applicants seeking insight into the outcome of their submission are encouraged to cross-reference their responses against the commentary offered within this report.

British Safety Council endorses the right of organisations to enquire about their result. Procedures are in place to ensure that result enquiries are dealt with fairly and thoroughly. Applicants interested in submitting an enquiry are referred to the Result enquiry policy and application form which will be available on our website from 8 February 2021.

It is important to note that a result enquiry may result in a grade being confirmed, raised or lowered. Where a grade is changed, the new grade will replace the original grade, whether it is higher or lower.

All result enquiries must be received by 23:59 GMT on 15 March 2021.

Awards ceremony and Gala Dinner

Shortly after the results have been issued, winners will formally be invited to receive their award at the International Safety Awards Gala Dinner.

The awards ceremony and Gala Dinner will take place at Grosvenor House Hotel, London on 21 May 2021.

Find out more and register your interest

More information

Should you have any questions or require further information contact Customer Services on +44 (0)20 8741 1231 or email [email protected]