Imperial College London

Imperial recognises excellence in health and safety


five people, three holding certificates

The 2017 winners with Surrinder Johal, Imperial's Director of Safety, and the Provost

Imperial's Provost presented the College's 2017 Health and Safety awards to staff at a ceremony last week.

The Provost’s Awards for Excellence in Health and Safety were established to honour staff at the College whose endeavours have resulted in significant improvements in health and safety over the last year.

Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility, and that’s what I’m trying to demonstrate”

– Caroline Detchenique

team winner

Introducing the award presentation, Provost Professor James Stirling said: “The College strategy is unequivocal about health and safety. It states that we will achieve the highest standards of safety. It also says we will promote a culture where all who show a commitment to excellence are recognised, whatever their role or field. These awards are part of that effort, and reward colleagues who have worked over and above their normal role to embody excellence in health and safety practice. It’s a real pleasure for me to celebrate their efforts with these awards.”

portrait of a womanThe awards are presented in individual and team categories. Dr Mel Bottrill, Scientific Programmes Manager in Student Recruitment and Outreach, won the individual award for her work creating the health and safety protocols for the Wohl Reach Out Lab and for all centrally run outreach activities.

Mel said: “The Wohl Reach Out Lab is a unique space at the College. It’s completely multidisciplinary and focused on school students, so from a safety perspective there is a lot to cover – from hazardous substances to radiation.

“It’s really nice to have recognition for support services staff through schemes like this. Hopefully the award will help to raise the profile of the Outreach team and the important work we do.”

Dr David Mountford, Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Chemistry, was highly commended for his contributions as Departmental Chemical Safety Adviser, including improving risk assessment of chemicals and processes in the undergraduate teaching and research laboratories.

Team effort

The team award this year went to Caroline Detchenique and Dr Peter Petrov from the Department of Materials for their work changing the culture around safety in the department, through combining the creation and revision of safety policies and codes of practice with a communications campaign.

portrait of a manPeter Petrov, Principal Research Scientist, said: “Because of the diverse research backgrounds of our staff, they have different perceptions of the level of hazard caused by lab coats, which some of our researchers used to wear while walking in the corridors between labs.

“We wanted to find a way for people in the department and our visitors to feel safe and so we launched the “Be safe – Keep others safe” campaign. Within the department, we segregated “experimental zones”, where people can move between labs keeping their protective clothing on, and banned the use of lab coats in other corridors and in the communal areas. We commissioned new signage to remind researchers and students to remove their protective clothing when leaving laboratories or the experimental zones.”

portrait of a womanCaroline Detchenique, Senior Marketing and Communications Officer in the department, added: “The thing I’m most excited about with this project is that I’m not in a health and safety role, and I’m not a researcher – I’m not the kind of person that’s normally involved with these types of projects. Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility, and that’s what I’m trying to demonstrate. You don’t need to be a health and safety specialist to get involved.”

Paschal Egan and Niraj Kanabar from the Department of Bioengineering were highly commended for their work building and maintaining a strong safety culture among the undergraduates in their department. 


Elizabeth Nixon

Elizabeth Nixon
Communications Division

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