The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Maureen Cornish, was guest speaker at a very special COVID Workplace Champions' Garden Party, held by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), to acknowledge workers who went above and beyond to protect others over the last two years.
Following many prestigious health and safety awards ceremonies, RoSPA hosted an intimate event at their Edgbaston headquarters to highlight the contributions of those who have used their expertise, passion and unwavering commitment to helping limit the transmission of COVID in workplaces.
The charity received nearly 300 nominations, from many different industry sectors and from 19 countries around the globe.
The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Maureen Cornish said: "It's so important to recognise and celebrate those that have made a huge effort in keeping our workplaces COVID safe, and in doing so you have saved lives, I'm quite sure.
She added, "As we approach the months ahead, we know that COVID isn’t going to go away, but it's important we do move forward."
The COVID Workplace Champions comprised of a group of exceptional workers voted for by their peers for keeping colleagues safe during the most uncertain stage of the pandemic. Chief Executive Errol Taylor explained in his speech, which followed "The decision to honour ‘COVID Workplace Champions’ was borne out of our acute recognition that those with responsibilities for managing safety and health bore the brunt of overseeing their workplace response. From new processes, procedures and safe systems of work it was their tireless endeavours – in the face of ever-changing guidelines – that protected employees and the wider community.
"Countless lives were saved as a result of safety professionals’ unwavering commitment. Often this work was behind the scenes, rarely was it recognised – hence today we are here to see and celebrate the life-saving work of the safety community."
Attendees were greeted by RoSPA staff and enjoyed lunchtime refreshments, outdoor games and a live band performing renditions of summery hits.
One COVID Champion in attendance, Barry Oliver, Group Head of Health, Safety and Quality at Berkeley Group said: “It was a nice afternoon, in good company. It was great to see the health and safety community being recognised for its COVID response!”
The occasion was also marked by rousing speech from Lord Jordan of Bournville, whose commitment to RoSPA saw his title of Deputy President formally upgraded to Life President at the event.
The Life President said: “You who had always protected the people you worked with from the daily dangers they faced. Then came COVID. A challenge like no other, deadly in effect, frightening in its contagious reach. It was a plague that stopped the world, but did not stop you”
“You continued to safeguard your companions with a dedication no contract of employment can demand. Today is your day, the day you earned an award that holds the immeasurable gratitude for all you have done.”