Hartlepool council delight after winning accolade in Health and Safety at Work awards

Council chiefs have expressed their delight after winning recognition in the North East's Health and Safety at Work awards.

Monday, 1st April 2019, 12:20 pm
Updated Monday, 1st April 2019, 12:49 pm
Gemma Ptak (holding certificate) and colleagues at the award presentation.

Hartlepool Borough Council has reached one of the highest levels of a regional award scheme for employers who are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of their staff and creating healthy, happy workplaces.

The council received the ‘Maintaining Excellence’ accolade in the North East Better Health At Work Awards (BHAWA), which were presented in a special ceremony in Middlesbrough Town Hall.

In addition, a Special Recognition Award went to Alison Reeves, the Council’s Public Health Planning and Commissioning Officer, for the work she has done to help other Hartlepool organisations achieve BHAWA status.

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The BHAWA scheme is supported by 11 local authorities and is co-ordinated by the Northern TUC. There are now over 350 firms and organisations signed up to the initiative, covering nearly 200,000 workers in the North-East alone and making it one of the largest workplace health programmes in England.

Employers are assessed and the award levels range from Bronze, Silver and Gold up to Maintaining Excellence and then the very highest level - Ambassador.

To reach Maintaining Excellence, the council demonstrated wide-ranging achievements.

Any organisation taking part in the scheme must have at least two formally-trained health advocates to help deliver health and wellbeing activities – the council has trained six.

The council runs an extensive range of health campaigns and initiatives for staff, including:

* Do Something Good For You – based around National Obesity Awareness Week;

* Dementia Awareness Week and Dementia Friends sessions;

* Get Fit For Free – Free taster sessions encouraged staff to try out a wide range of activities including box-fit, circuits, aerobics, cycle fit and swimming;

* Take The Time To Talk, Take The Time To Listen – A variety of drop-in sessions were held around World Mental Health Day.

Among the many other initiatives which the council has promoted are Dry January, smoking cessation, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Breast Cancer Month and stroke awareness.

It has also provided advice and support to a number of other Hartlepool employers to help them reach their own milestones in the BHAWA.

Gemma Ptak, the council’s Assistant Director (Preventative and Community-Based Services), said: “We are delighted to achieve ‘Maintaining Excellence’ status. The council’s employees are its greatest asset and we are absolutely committed to helping them to enjoy healthy, happy and contented lives.”