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A total of 1251 applications were received for the British Safety Council’s International Safety Awards in 2024.  The number of applications has more than doubled since the 2022 Awards, a reflection of the esteem in which these awards are held across the globe.

A Distinction, Merit or Pass was achieved by 90% of applicants.     

The distribution of grades among the applications submitted in 2024 was as follows:

  • Distinction      269      (22%)
  • Merit               456      (36%)
  • Pass                399      (32%)
  • Fail                  127      (10%)


Download the Chief Adjudication Report 2024

General Comments

Organisations were provided with online ‘easy-to-access’ aides to assist them in the preparation and submission of their award applications. These included:


  • The 2024 International Safety Awards question set and marking scheme
  • The Chief Adjudicator’s Report for the 2023 International Safety Awards
  • A guidance note concerning the eligibility requirements
  • The list of 2023 International Safety Award winners; and
  • Webinars hosted by the British Safety Council.


The webinars hosted by the British Safety Council staff, the Chief Adjudicator and the award scheme’s Independent Adjudicator in October 2023 and January 2024 were well attended.  Through the medium of webinars, we sought to assist applicants in navigating the online application form and assist their understanding of how best to provide the evidence necessary to correctly answer the questions and earn high marks.


The importance of applicants accessing and understanding the International Safety Awards eligibility requirements as set out in the regulations, guidance and advice listed above cannot be overstated. Key to an applicant succeeding in obtaining a high grade is the need to closely follow the regulations, guidance and advice we provide.


We cannot overstate the importance of reading and understanding the questions. Low scores in many cases resulted from an incomplete reading or misunderstanding of what was being sought.


Particular questions had distinct elements all of which had to be addressed in order to score high marks. Partial answers, for example, to Question 7 concerning emergency arrangements in the event of the fire that failed to provide details of a recent mock drill failed to achieve a high score.


In our webinars we recommended applicants draft answers in a separate word document before transferring to the online application. It is essential that all answers are proofread and ideally peer reviewed by a colleague before the application is submitted. The time taken to do so is time well spent as it can result in the extra marks that make the difference, for example, between a Pass and a Merit or a Merit and a Distinction.


This year many of the questions specifically asked for evidence of arrangements and actions being taken to prevent injury and ill health and ensure wellbeing at the applicant site. Low scoring applicants often failed to provide substantive evidence and examples or provided theoretical answers lifted from websites that provide guidance on the management of health and safety and wellbeing programmes. An overly theoretical approach to answering questions was evident in responses by poor performing applicants. The adjudicators need to understand what is happening at the applicant’s site not solely what the textbooks say.


Applicants who provided too short answers inevitably failed to provide the evidence necessary to score more than one mark. Additionally, our advice and guidance made it clear that applications had to be submitted in the English language. Even so we still received a few applications in other languages and others with answers in a mixture of languages. Answers in languages other than English were not marked by adjudicators.


This year there were four questions for which we attached one supplementary mark namely Questions 3b, 4b, 6b and 8b. These four questions were drafted with the intention of giving applicants the opportunity to provide relevant and concise evidence to bring the substantive answers to questions 3a, 4a, 6a and 8a to life.   


The quality of evidence provided in respect of these supplementary questions was generally of a high standard. We were seeking illustrative evidence as reports, documents, photographs or logs of activity. The one additional mark that questions 3b, 4b, 6b and 8b could attract was easy to achieve if the advice and guidance was strictly followed. Brief explanations of the relevance of the submitted evidence was essential. Some applicants attached numerous files containing pages and pages of text. This is not what was required to score one mark on each of these supplementary questions.


This year as in 2023 the word count for answering each of the substantive questions was 600 words. We are mindful of the time applicants spend preparing and drafting their responses and the time adjudicators have to spend judging the applications. There were still instances of applicants far exceeding the 600-word count. Applicants must carry out a word count when proofing their award submission. Applicants whose answers grossly exceeded the 600-word count were marked down. Exceeding the word count resulted in a small number of applicants failing to achieve a Distinction, Merit or Pass simply by losing marks for failing to follow the ISA 2024 regulations and guidance. 


It is important that applicants ensure that their answers to the questions are well presented using clear and concise language, headings, sub-headings and paragraphs where appropriate. Several questions contained more than one theme. The flow of the answers in all cases was vastly improved by using headings, sub-headings and paragraphs.   


The application of practical real-life examples from the workplace are important and a key requirement in several questions. The adjudicators want to understand how things operate in practice in specific sites or workplaces. This approach brings applications to life and helps improve the adjudicator’s understanding of the effectiveness of the measures in place. 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.


The adjudicators were once again greatly encouraged to see the importance that senior management commits to ensuring the safety, health and wellbeing of their respective workforces and the wider community.


Wellbeing is now at the heart of successful corporate and business agendas. We applaud the efforts made by many applicant organisations to identify and implement the improvements that are necessary to ensure the health and wellbeing of their workforce and the wider community impacted by their activities.


There were instances where applicants addressing the wellbeing questions only provided examples of measures that they had taken to prevent injury and ill health in the workplace and neglected to provide evidence of the initiatives and measures that they had in place to improve and protect the quality of workers’ lives more generally. Measures, for example, to improve the working and living conditions of migrant workers attracted high marks.  


Applicants were asked to provide details of any enforcement action taken by their respective regulator including Improvement Notices, Reportable Injuries, Dangerous Occurrences or Occupational Ill Health cases and any remedial actions taken. Although not attracting marks, as with Questions 1 and 2 this is important contextual information for the adjudicators. Had enforcement action been taken in the relevant eligibility period it is for the adjudicators to decide whether any resulting remedial action is sufficient to allow the application to proceed to adjudication.


The adjudicators hope that the information provided in this report helps you not only in preparing for the 2025 International Safety Awards but equally importantly in providing information that helps you to continue to meet the challenges you and your colleagues face in preventing injuries and ill health occurrences and ensuring wellbeing in your workplace. We wish you every success in 2025.


The Independent Adjudicator and myself wish to thank the panel of Adjudicators and colleagues at British Safety Council for their hard work and dedication in handling the applications speedily and with rigour.

To read more download the full report.