Awarding success: Winners of the Risk Reduction Through Design Award 2024 announced

In a bid to highlight workplace health solutions, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has unveiled its 2024 ‘Risk Reduction Through Design’ awards winners, celebrating design changes that mitigate the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the workplace.

The Risk Reduction Through Design award 2023/24, sponsored by HSE and the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF), aims to spotlight design changes that reduce MSD risks across industries. MSDs encompass a range of conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system, including back pain and joint injuries.

This year marked the introduction of a new category, recognising the efforts of small to medium enterprises alongside the overall best design innovation.

Cranswick Gourmet Pastry has been awarded the MSD Risk Reduction through Design Award for its modification to their pie filling process. The design introduced the “Hopper Topper”, which eradicates the need for manual lifting and decanting of heavy trays and buckets of pie fillings, reducing MSD risk from this activity and increasing productivity.

Operators at Cranswick Gourmet Pastry Ltd ‘crimping’ and weighing pies at the end of the line

Kent-based MRF Contracting has been recognised with the inaugural Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) Recognition Award for its creative use of a handheld crane and tool balancer tailored for its fencing installation operations. This design has substantially reduced the physical strain from lifting and hand-arm vibration (HAVS) effects on employees, promoting a healthier and more efficient working environment.

Chris Quarrie, Chartered Ergonomist and Human Factors specialist and chair of this year’s judging panel, said: “We applaud both Cranswick Gourmet Pastry and MRF Contracting for their contributions towards reducing workplace MSD risks to their workers.

“These awards demonstrate how MSD risks can be designed out of daily work activities. For many workplaces, simple changes can reduce the amount of physical lifting, bending, twisting and the associated strains those movements have on the body. Where manual handling is still necessary, innovative designs like those implemented by our winners can make all the difference when it comes to creating healthier work environments. These awards reflect the importance of engaging the employees throughout the process of designing out MSD risk.

“We are thrilled with all the nominations submitted this year. We hope that other workplaces, with the help of their employees, can consider designing out, or reducing MSD risk, with simple and cost-effective solutions.”

Speaking about their winning design solution, a Cranswick Gourmet Pastry spokesperson said: “We are thrilled that we have been awarded the prestigious MSD Risk Reduction Through Design Award 2024. This accolade serves as a testament to our ongoing commitment within our health & safety strategy to find innovative solutions aimed at eliminating and mitigating risks. This remarkable achievement is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the entire team involved in the project.”

Archie Montgomery, CEO of MRF Contracting, said: “Winning the award gives recognition to the wider MRF team, which works together to ensure that we are working in the safest, healthiest and best environment. A design as simple as this started from an employee suggestion and was developed through the office staff and our workshop fitters to deliver a solution that benefits the staff we have now and, in the future, and, with luck, other users of this tool.

“It’s a sign of recognition that we, as a company, are progressing toward creating a safer, happier environment.”

The dual awards were presented by Dr Andrew Pinder, HSE Senior Ergonomist, during CIEHF’s annual awards ceremony on 23 April 2024, where the commitment and innovation of the winning companies was celebrated.

Speaking about the awards, Iris Mynott, from CIEHF, said: “Through these recognitions, we highlight the impactful contributions of businesses in advancing workplace safety. Congratulations to our winners and all the entrants for their dedication to ergonomic improvements.”

For further details on the winners and their innovative designs, visit: