Calling all Guardian Angels – We need you!

RoSPA Guardian Angel AwardThere are plenty of people responsible for our safety – often people we’ve never even met. In fact to a large extent we are protected by ‘the hidden hand of safety’ people are not aware of, but without which many more accidents would occur. However, for now I’d like you to ask yourself something:

Whose safety are you responsible for?

It’s a simple question, but one that is perhaps not asked often enough. Therefore we thought we’d break it down a little – ‘zooming out’ until we can see the big picture that is often sadly obscured by media nonsense about ‘nanny states’ and other health and safety myths.

First of all, you’re responsible for yourself. Personal responsibility is a vital component of accident prevention, and for almost 100 years now RoSPA has dedicated itself to providing people with the information they need to protect themselves from the misery and suffering injury and ill health can cause.

You’re also responsible for your friends and family – especially the elderly and the young. This is common sense. None of us want to see the ones we love hurt, and as a result we will go out of our way to protect those closest to us, starting with the most vulnerable. It’s not being a busy-body. It’s not ‘nannying’. It’s simply our way of showing that we care.

What about the people we work with? Well, if you’re reading this blog there’s a good chance you take a healthy interest in workplace safety. Maybe it’s part of your job, or perhaps you’ve seen firsthand the devastation needless accidents can cause. Either way, we’re sure that you accept that looking out for your colleagues is your responsibility – just as you’d expect them to look out for you. After all, we all deserve the right to go to work in the morning and come home safe at the end of the day.

 So far, so obvious.  

But who else can we reasonably think of ourselves as being responsible for?

What about people we don’t know directly, other companies we work with, our suppliers and service providers? How about our colleagues’ families and friends?

You see here at RoSPA, we are committed to the concept of a safer society, one where everyone has the right to live their lives free from pain and suffering. For us to achieve that, we need to realise that we are all cogs in a bigger machine – and for the machine to keep running smoothly we all have to play our part.

In other words, we all need to look after each other.


Helping HandsIt’s not rocket science we know, but it’s amazing how often companies lose sight of the big picture. You might have the best Safety Managers in the world, but unless your entire team believes in and is working towards an accident and injury free society, then things will and do inevitably go wrong.

Thankfully, some people realise this, and with that in mind, RoSPA are excited to announce we are now accepting nominations for the 2015 RoSPA Guardian Angel Awards.

 These awards aim to shine a light on those people within organisations who have gone ‘above and beyond’ to make the world a safer place for their fellow man, woman and child. Whether or not they work within health and safety, or have simply used their initiative to help reduce risks they’ve spotted in the workplace or the wider community, we want to hear about them, so that we can celebrate the example they set to all of us.

We sometimes forget that it’s often the unseen, unrewarded actions of individuals that help deliver us home safely to our families each night.  Find out more about just a few of our 2014 RoSPA Guardian Angels below:

Joy Edwards

In the face of unspeakable tragedy, Joy has been instrumental in helping to keep the dangers of blind cords in the public eye. Having lost her own daughter Leah in 2010, Joy has since thrown herself into raising awareness among other parents and carers about the dangers of looped blind cords, urging to ensure that they are tied up out of the reach of young children. Through her invaluable help, RoSPA’s blind cord safety campaign has helped to change the way that ALL window furnishings across the EU are made and sold. RoSPA Archangel 2014

Elaine Davies

Elaine is an experienced occupational health nurse who displays an outstanding commitment to caring for the workforce at Polypipe Ltd. She regularly goes above and beyond – working long days without requiring extra payment or thanks. She also recently saved an employee’s life by referring them to a doctor – having correctly recognised a life threatening condition. RoSPA Archangel 2014

John Johnston

John’s passion for health and safety began after suffering a serious back injury at work, resulting in him being housebound for two and a half years. He saw this as an opportunity to help keep others safe at work. He self funded himself to set up a small disability access consultancy and went on to become Health and Safety Advisor for FMC Technologies. John lives and breathes HSE. His dedication to protecting employees has earned him great respect and has made a positive impact on everyone around him. In his own time John runs a HSE website and supports the wider community. RoSPA Guardian Angel 2014

Richard Taffs

Richard has significant manufacturing practical experience as well as being a qualified health and safety manager at NIS Ltd. He has an enthusiastic approach, and takes health and safety outside the organisation into the community to promote to school and college students. He firmly believes that planting the health and safety seed in young minds will lead to healthier, safer workforces in the future. He has improved employee engagement by encouraging accountability and urges employees to take safety into their home lives. He is involved in mentoring schemes and is constantly looking for fresh ideas to raise awareness. RoSPA Archangel 2014

Linda Mitchell

Linda has worked tirelessly with the Fire Support Network Charity to create innovative ways to engage with the people of Merseyside. She has developed a number of best practice models to tackle social issues and has worked hard to develop a scheme that offers long term unemployed individuals a four day week programme. She has been instrumental in delivering services and support to over 105,000 individuals and families by offering smoke and carbon monoxide detector installation and distributing education material about accident prevention at home. Linda has demonstrated passion for protecting vulnerable people, creating safer communities and saving lives. RoSPA Guardian Angel 2014

Beckie Ramsay

Beckie’s son Dylan sadly lost his life in 2011, when he went swimming with friends in a quarry. Since then Becky has been teaching kids about the dangers of swimming in open water. RoSPA Archangel 2014

Kathryn Ing

Kathryn is a dedicated Health and Safety Officer, but as well as the workplace, she also uses her skills to great effect in the community. In her spare time, Kathryn gives health and safety advice to local children’s charities, historic community groups, and local events and activities held outdoors in the park. She is always giving to others and going beyond the extra mile. RoSPA Guardian Angel 2014

Remember, being responsible is about ‘doing your bit’. Being a Guardian Angel is about doing more than your bit, including making sure you go the extra mile to ensure other people do theirs! Even doing something as simple as making sure you never miss a safety meeting can make a real difference.

So think – is there someone in your organisation or in the local community who you think deserves to stand next to these RoSPA Guardian Angels? Someone whose efforts have gone unrewarded and unrecognised…until now?

If so, then nominate them for a RoSPA Guardian Angel Award – and show the world that your organisation supports RoSPA’s vision for an accident and injury-free society for all.

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