A total of 532 applications were received for the International Safety Awards in 2021 and 73% of these successfully achieved a Pass grade or higher. The grading distribution among the applications in 2021 was as follows.
- Distinction 85 (16%)
- Merit 155 (28%)
- Pass 147 (29%)
- Fail 145 (27%).
Considerable time and effort were invested in those submissions that scored well. High scoring applicants were characterised by each question being thoroughly analysed and answered using appropriate evidence relevant to the risk that particular workplace had to manage. These applications used the allocated word count most effectively ensuring that their answer fully addressed the question. Additionally, high scoring applications demonstrated that all of the questions could be answered comprehensively within the word count.
Conversely applicants who provided short answers inevitably failed to provide the evidence necessary to score more than one mark. There were examples of answers running to no more than a few sentences. In consequence this impacted negatively on the mark attributed by the adjudicator.
Applicants were once again firmly encouraged to make use of the marking scheme and the Chief Adjudicator’s Report from the previous year, together with the award scheme pre-entry webinar as a guide to the standards expected. The use of the command words – “Describe” and “Explain” – are intended to assist the applicants in ensuring the questions are properly addressed in their answers.
Taken together, the questions, marking scheme, Chief Adjudicator’s Report, webinar and command word appendix are clearly of essential importance to any successful application. A small but significant number of applicant organisations failed to follow the extensive advice and guidance and scores suffered in consequence.
The importance of ensuring that supporting evidence is relevant to the question cannot be under-stated – see Questions 5, 6, 8, 9 and 11. This supporting evidence attracts a total of five additional marks. Used effectively, the supporting evidence can lift scores making the difference between a Merit and a Distinction or Pass and Merit. No marks were awarded, for example, for a photograph lacking explanation.
The application of practical real-life examples from the workplace are important and a key requirement in a number of questions. These once more served as an effective differentiator between the higher and lower-scoring submissions. The highest-scoring submissions were noted for their consistently focused, site-specific nature and use of examples. The adjudicators again reported many instances of good or even exceptional initiatives among the submissions. Organisations have had to be quick to respond and adapt in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were many examples of the speed with which organisations responded, including short-term lockdowns, to enable implementation of measures necessary to prevent contagion. At the same time, all of these organisations were continuing to daily manage the ongoing risks inherent in the hazards they faced.
The adjudicators were again greatly encouraged to see the importance that the senior management of applicant organisations attached to ensuring the safety, health and wellbeing of their respective workforces. Year-on-year we are seeing an exponential growth in initiatives designed to promote health and well-being and in particular prevent poor mental health. The International Safety Award applications contained many examples of organisations investing time and money to protect the health of their workers and promote wellbeing. The bar for applicant organisations to achieve a Distinction has been deliberately set high. Whilst the Awards are intended to acknowledge the success organisations have achieved in managing the risk of workplace injury and ill health, it is only right that degrees of success are differentiated through the awarding of Distinction, Pass and Merit. Each submission is carefully scored and then reviewed, to ensure that the appropriate grade is awarded.
The adjudicators recognise that there is a limit to the amount of detail that can be provided given the word limits that are in place. However, 700 words is considered sufficient for applicants to provide a comprehensive, relevant and compelling answer underpinned by appropriate evidence.
The adjudicators hope that the information provided in this Report, helps you not only in preparing for the 2022 International Safety Awards, but equally importantly, in providing information that helps you to continue to meet the challenges in ensuring the prevention of injuries and ill health occurrences in your workplace.