The Hawke's Bay District Health Board has been recognised for its innovative health and safety leadership at a national level.

The DHB was one of four businesses in the region to be awarded for going above and beyond it its initiatives around health and safety in the work place at the inaugural Safest Place to Work Awards.

The healthcare provider was applauded for its leadership to ensure all on-site contractors followed its Safe365 health and safety assessment tool.

The awards, a new initiative from leading cloud-based health and safety software provider Safe365, were backed by Trade Me Jobs, AdviceFirst, Health and Safety Association NZ and the New Zealand Institute of Safety Management.

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The awards considered data from more than 1200 organisations and recognised those that demonstrated allround high levels of risk management capability, leadership, employee engagement and a mature culture in making sure people are healthy, safe and well at work every day.

Executive Director People and Quality, Kate Coley, said the health sector by its very nature was a challenging environment with many moving parts, and apart from a very clear focus on the care and safety for its patients and staff, there was also a critical need to ensure contractors and organisations coming onto its premises were capable and effective in getting their job done safely.

"I am proud to say that Hawke's Bay is the first DHB to offer this leadership by providing a safety tool that not only gives value to the contractor/organisation in a business friendly manner, but ensures our health and safety expectations are met at all times on site," Coley said.

Last year the DHB undertook a pilot study to trial the Safe365 online assessment tool with a number of local organisations including Falcon Electrical, Higgins Ltd, Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga and Turfrey Hawke's Bay, because of the new requirements under Health and Safety legislation.

"Introducing this tool gave us assurance that organisations we worked with had a positive culture and capability around health and safety, and it also provided a significant number of resources to help us all identify improvements in this space."

Coley said the tool worked well thanks to HBDHB health and safety advisor Christine Mildon's oversight.

"It was also great to see these local organisations recognised for their work and innovation in health and safety as finalists in the Safest Places to Work categories, with Turfrey Hawke's Bay taking out the evening's supreme award."

Coley said taking a health and safety leadership role lifted capability and culture that benefited everyone.

"The board and executive team have demonstrated courage and a willingness to take a different approach which had seen other DHBs subsequently follow our lead.

"We are very proud of our achievements and will continue to prioritise our focus on health and safety within our DHB and celebrate this success."