One of the country’s most acclaimed safety peers handed a top award to South Cumbrian experts who represent 39 of the area’s leading firms.

At the prestigious House of Lords gathering, president of Safety Groups UK, Lord Brougham and Vaux, hailed South Cumbria Occupational Health and Safety Group for its commitment to keeping thousands of Cumbrian workers from harm.

Chairman James Woolgrove said with two gold and three silver awards now under its belt, the group – which includes BAE Systems, James Cropper, Kendal College and Morecambe Bay University Hospitals NHS Trust – was delighted, but would not be resting on its laurels.

He said: “Given by Safety Groups UK, with support from the Health and Safety Executive and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, the awards are top-level recognition for the industry’s movers and shakers.

“We were particularly commended for our work in South Lakeland schools and county colleges, where one focus is on protection issues in rural industries.

"Preparing the next generation to work safely is vital. Our group has been running for over 40 years.

"While the workplace has changed beyond recognition, getting people to understand and avoid the risks remains a key factor.”

Mr Woolgrove said health and safety was about each and every worker returning home as fit and healthy as when they arrived and not, as many people perceived, all about policies and paperwork.