26 May 2022

Our Covid-19 measures and sustained commitment to employee health have been recognised with Healthy Workplace Awards

British Steel has been presented with an award recognising the way we safeguarded employees throughout the pandemic.

Yesterday we were presented with the ‘Recognising Exemplary Practice to Protect the Workforce from COVID-19’ honour at North Lincolnshire Council’s Healthy Workplace Awards.

This award scheme recognises organisations that value the health and wellbeing of their people. At the same ceremony we also received a second accolade for our long-term commitment to employee welfare.

Chris Vaughan, Safety, Health, Environment & Quality Director, said: “These awards are great recognition for everyone involved and their ongoing hard work to encourage good health and wellbeing across the business.

“The last 2 years, with the advent of COVID-19, have been particularly challenging because of the additional demands and pressure on their time, yet the Occupational Health and Health & Safety teams have continued to offer a professional and valuable service.

“They undoubtedly deserve this recognition, very well done.”

Derek Ward, Director of Public Health for Lincolnshire, North and North East Lincolnshire, presented the COVID-19 award to David Blake, Health and Safety Standards Manager. Derek said: “The Covid pandemic has placed an immense challenge on workplaces, and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of staff is a high priority for businesses that have needed to keep going during these difficult times.

“Businesses have shown incredible agility and innovation, adapting to the health and safety requirements that COVID-19 placed upon them, and have gone to great lengths to protect their staff and maintain business continuity.”

David added the campaign to protect our people during the pandemic was a real team effort across the business. He said: “We acted very quickly to keep our people safe, proactively rolling out safeguarding measures. Our Occupational Health team established our own COVID-19 hotline and operated a track and trace system too.

“Their efforts, backed up with our involvement in government pilots for daily contact testing and setting up our own COVID-19 test centre in Scunthorpe, were instrumental in effectively managing our response. COVID-19 has certainly proved a challenge but, with employee commitment across the company to our safeguarding measures, we were able to act rapidly and positively to manage the situation as best we could.

“I’d like to thank everyone across our sites and works areas for complying with our safeguarding measures. Your actions were vitally important in helping us minimise the risk and spread of the virus.”

The health and wellbeing of our employees are extremely important to British Steel, which is why we’re a long-term supporter of the North Lincolnshire Council’s Healthy Workplace Awards. The scheme has seen us focus on a range of topics to support our people including mental health and wellbeing, diet and exercise. Chris Vaughan was proud to accept the second award, Long Commitment to Workplace Health, which recognised our involvement in the scheme for more than 10 years.

Sharon Smith, Occupational Health Manager, said: “Over this time, we’ve demonstrated our steadfast commitment to support our workforce and increase the business’ focus on health. We’ve worked hard to engage the workforce and positively challenge the health culture and we’ve seen a big improvement.

“Twelve years on, we’re in a very different place. People are more comfortable talking about their health, including mental wellbeing concerns, and they’re alert to the signs of when to seek medical advice.

“It’s now considered more acceptable to look after your own health by making lifestyle changes and inspiring others to do the same.

“These long-term efforts have led to our progression from the council’s bronze award though silver and gold to achieve its highest standard, the platinum award, which, I’m very proud to say, we’ve now held for 4 years. We were the first business to achieve silver, gold and platinum status and it’s fantastic to be recognised for our maintaining our high standards. And now, as new companies join up to the scheme, we’re the business they turn to for sharing best practice.”

Peter Thorpe, Chief Executive of the Council, presented the award. He said: “This prestigious award recognises the businesses that have made a continuous, sustained effort to improve the health and wellbeing of their employees for at least 10 years. This involves embedding health and wellbeing into the core culture of the workplace and being proactive in the pursuit of a healthier workforce.

“Keeping health and wellbeing at the top of the agenda with so many competing priorities is no easy task – particularly in recent years, and businesses have had to adapt to make sure this happens. Businesses that have been part of the scheme for a long period of time have reaped the rewards of a healthier workforce, with reduced sickness absence, better employee engagement and improved productivity.”

Martin Welch, Compliance Manager, also attended the event after being nominated by Sharon Smith as an Outstanding Health Champion, an accolade he received in 2018. Although he didn’t pick up an award this time, Martin’s ongoing and unswerving commitment towards the health and wellbeing of his colleagues was acknowledged during the ceremony.