Excellence in health and safety celebrated

13 Jul 2020

The winners of this year’s Provost’s Awards for Excellence in Health and Safety have been announced.

Eifion Nightingale Headshot
by Martha Salhotra


Two men in front of security screens

David and Necats are part of Imperial’s Security team and winners of this year’s Team Award


The winners of this year’s Provost’s Awards for Excellence in Health and Safety have been announced.

Imperial staff have been recognised for their ongoing commitment and dedication to improving the safety of students, staff and visitors to the College.

Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost of Imperial College London, said: “I want to congratulate all of our award winners and highly commended nominees who have made outstanding contributions to health and safety within their departments.

“Your dedication and commitment to drive change has benefited colleagues directly as well as creating wider impact on the quality of the research, education and work environment at the College and other institutions.”

We spotlight some of this year’s award winners.

Security team: saving lives on campus 

The Security team have been jointly awarded the Team Award alongside the Move Imperial team.

Nominated by Claire O’Brien, Director of Occupational Health, the Security team were singled out for their delivery of first aid support across the College:

“The Security team are unsung heroes in maintaining the safety of the College community. They support Occupational Health in providing first aid to staff and students, and we have seen the professionalism with which they communicate with and assist members of the community when they are unwell.”

Terry Branch, Head of Security, said: “It gives me immense pride to win the Provost’s Award alongside my team: David Gordon, Necats Demir and Sonia Da Silva. Helping staff and students is a daily task for us, but sometimes we are faced with exceptional challenges, from staff and students who hurt themselves while on campus or who become very unwell.”

The team have won their award for working speedily to save the life of a man having a heart attack on campus. “He was not responding and had no pulse,” Terry explains. “Our first aid training kicked in and the team quickly brought out a defibrillator and began resuscitating the individual. They cleared the surrounding area by placing screens around the scene and David administered CPR which saved the man’s life.”

Feedback from the London Ambulance Service confirmed that the Security team had taken the appropriate actions while giving CPR. Terry says the team have recently undertaken trauma training to continuing enhancing their skills and have continued to patrol and support those on campus during lockdown.

“I want to thank the team for the work they have been doing daily and the lives they have saved. It has been a tremendous effort.”

“Good health and safety is everyone’s responsibility”   

The Department of Life Sciences’ Technical Support team, led by Technical Operations Manager Allison Hunter, have won the Highly Commended Award for prioritising safety during the autoclave replacement project, which started three years ago.

“It’s a pleasure to be recognised for doing what we thought was our normal job roles.” – Allison Hunter, Technical Operations Manager

The project aimed to replace the autoclaves – devices that are used to sterilise glass and plastic consumables, media and waste – while still allowing research staff to continue carrying out their work in research facilities at the College during the replacement.

Ana Pedrero-Llamas nominated the team and wrote: “The team of technicians has gone far beyond their normal roles by working longer hours to maximise the operational capacity of the autoclaves on site, so that safety and operational requirements would not be compromised.

“Their pragmatism while implementing alternative processes to main the safety of those working within the areas they provide support to, as well as preserving the quality and integrity of the research work being conducted, is remarkable and to be commended.”

Allison Hunter, who led the team, said: “Our existing autoclaves were around 20 years old and not working as well they once did. Around 1,000 members of research staff use our service for their research work, and so our main aim was to replace the existing autoclaves but keep the research facilities open for staff to continue working.”

“It’s a pleasure to be recognised for doing what we thought was our normal job roles,” reflects Allison. “We all took great care during this project, especially Fiona May and James Mansfield, and it is lovely that the team has been singled out for their stellar efforts.

“My team have been working around the clock to log data, review our waste practices, and have also reduced the amount of water used during runs, as well as the number of new autoclaves we needed to purchase, which has saved money.”

Allison also stressed the importance of research facilities upholding high safety standards: “Good health and safety is everyone’s responsibility. We benchmarked against other university facilities and were very grateful for the support from the Faculty and College’s Biological Safety teams as we reviewed our practices. College and Faculty Estates and Purchasing Services staff were other key participants of this major facility refurbishment.”

Allison Hunter (centre) pictured with the Department of Life Sciences’ Technical Support team.

Allison Hunter (centre) pictured with the Department of Life Sciences’ Technical Support team.

Encouraging high safety standards

Eifion Nightingale Headshot

Eifion Nightingale, Hackspace Fellow – Departmental Safety Officer, won the Individual Award for taking up a voluntary role as a Safety Coordinator in the Advanced Hackspace and for being committed to monitoring, risk assessment and regular reviews of work practices.

“I have a genuine excitement for working as a Safety Coordinator at the Hackspace as it offers me a wealth of opportunities to solve problems, from the simple things like teaching people about basic workshop etiquette to the more complex problems of ensuring that cutting edge research is undertaken responsibly.”

“I wouldn’t be able to implement new safety measures and ideas if it wasn’t a team effort so I feel this award reflects everyone’s efforts to improve our working space.”

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