By Claire West

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents is proud to announce a new award for 2011, sponsored by BHSF, to recognise the work of trade associations and similar bodies in helping small and medium-sized firms with health and safety.

Midlands-based health insurer and employee benefits provider BHSF was keen to sponsor The SME Assistance Trophy to highlight and reward excellent work to help SMEs improve their management of accident and ill health prevention.

The trophy will be awarded to the trade association or similar body that has made the most outstanding contribution and it is a new element of the RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards, for which 2011 entry opened last week.

Tom Mullarkey, RoSPA chief executive, said: “SMEs face challenges in meeting essential health and safety requirements, particularly due to time and financial constraints, and they often make use of the expertise of external organisations for advice and assistance.

“The SME Assistance Trophy is founded on the belief that external organisations who have ‘gone the extra mile’ in helping SMEs should be formally recognised and thanked for their contributions. We also hope that an award that exemplifies good practice will encourage other trade associations to step up their support in this area.”

Peter Maskell, BHSF’s chief executive, said: “When offered the opportunity to sponsor such a high-profile award, we were delighted to accept. RoSPA is a highly-respected organisation with an impeccable reputation, and as such it makes an ideal partner for BHSF, with its ethical, not-for-profit ethos.

“BHSF has been working for the health and wellbeing of ordinary working people since 1873 and we genuinely believe that by sponsoring this award we are continuing that focus.”

Trade associations can put themselves forward for the award but it is hoped that nominations will also be received from others including the firms they help.

Nominations, in the form of a covering letter and short summary of why the association should be considered, should be submitted to RoSPA by January 14, 2011. Full details of how to enter, including examples of different types of SME assistance and the judging criteria, can be found at www.rospa.com/awards/whichaward/sme-assistance-trophy.aspx

As well as a trophy, the winner will receive a RoSPA benefits package to help it enhance its contribution to improving SMEs’ health and safety management systems.

If you have any questions about the new award, call 0121 248 2090 or email awards@rospa.com. To find out more about the RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards in general, which are sponsored by NEBOSH, visit www.rospa.com/awards/