British Safety Council held a Gala Dinner on 19 May to celebrate the International Safety Awards (ISAs) 2023 at the Landmark hotel in London. This is the 65th year the awards have taken place.

The event was hosted by British racing driver Perry McCarthy (aka the original ‘Stig’ from BBC Top Gear). The prestigious event included speeches by British Safety Council CEO, Mike Robinson, its chairman Peter McGettrick, and Jason Anker MBE who, alongside his daughter Abbi, spoke about his accident working at height 30 years ago which left him paralysed from the waist down, how it affected them as a family, and how he found the motivation to recover and achieve career success since then.

The event combined both a formal presentation ceremony with a dinner and an evening of live entertainment.

This year, 774 organisations of all sizes and sectors won British Safety Council’s acclaimed ISA awards. They came from as far as Africa, Asia, India, mainland Europe and the Middle East. 136 applicants achieved a distinction, 298 achieved a merit and 337 achieved a pass.

The occasion was also used by British Safety Council to announce winners of the Mates in Mind Impact Awards, which are given by its sister charity, Mates in Mind to companies seeking to improve mental health at work, especially in the construction sector.

Addressing the room of award entrants and winners, Mike Robinson said: “As always, this event provides the opportunity to celebrate the success of all the winners of the International Safety Awards and associated free to enter awards.”

“I’m delighted to see so many people here tonight, as by your presence you’re not only demonstrating your commitment to improving the health, safety and wellbeing of your organisations, but are also helping celebrate sixty-five years of improving health & safety standards around the world.”

“This week is mental health awareness week, and therefore it is timely that tonight we’ll also be celebrating the Mates in Mind Impact Awards. These awards, open to supporters of Mates in Mind, seek to recognise and reward the amazing work being undertaken by companies in addressing mental health, especially in the construction sector.”

In his address, Peter McGettrick said: “The commitment to health and safety in this room is an inspiration to us all, and we thank you for your dedication to keeping our workplaces and communities safe.”

“We applaud your hard work, dedication, and commitment and these awards remind us that health and safety is not just the responsibility of those at the top, but one that requires everyone to take responsibility for their own health, safety and wellbeing.”

Reflecting on how his life changed after a work-related accident, which led to his relationship breaking down, over-dependence on drugs and alcohol and further damage to his brain from an accidental overdose, Jason Anker MBE said: “This year is 30 years since I fell while working at height, and I have looked at how far I have come in my life. Life is 10 per cent what happens to you and 90 per cent how you react to it. The most powerful thing to me is how our lives, and especially my daughter Abbi and I, have adapted since my accident. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t wake up and think, ‘if only’.

“With the help of my business partner Tim and an amazing team of supporters, I recently completed a successful ascent of Mount Snowdon, in a gruelling nine-and-a-half-hour trek there and back. Two days later, I went down the fastest zip wire in the World, in Wales, suspended face down travelling at over 100 miles an hour. On 9 June, my daughter Abbi and I will do a big parachute jump, skydiving 15,000 feet in tandem, all to raise money for two charities No Falls Foundation and Mental Health UK. Life sometimes throws you lemons, make lemonade.”

This year’s International Safety Awards are sponsored by RS Safety Solutions.

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