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A joint initiative by the four gas distribution networks (GDNs) has been shortlisted in the Health and Safety Initiative of the Year category at this year’s Utility Week Awards.

Originally developed by CO-Gas Safety, with the help of Carbon Monoxide (CO) victims, as a poster competition aimed at primary school children, the health and safety initiative was designed to raise awareness through creative engagement with key safety messages to help better understand the dangers, recognise the symptoms and take or encourage actions from parents and carers to avoid risks from CO.

The four GDNs, Northern Gas Networks, SGN, Wales & West Utilities and Cadent, recognised the impact that this work could have and in 2015, agreed with CO-Gas Safety to take over the overall management and also extended applications to include additional media, written, moving image and drama.

The competition went from receiving around 100 applications to approximately 1,000 in 2016 and included posters, journals, poems and videos. Each GDN selects two regional winners from two age groups, these regional winners are recognised locally and are then invited to attend the national awards ceremony, in the House of Commons, where the two national winners are announced.

Tom Bell, Head of Social Strategy at Northern Gas Networks, said: “Whilst too high, the number of deaths from CO is falling, in part down to improvements in manufacturing and technology, but also aided by awareness campaigns such as the CO competition. The quality and creativeness demonstrated in the entries has allowed difficult messages to be better understood by children and adults alike.

“We are delighted to hear that the initiative has been shortlisted at the Utility Week Awards and I look forward to Monday 11 December when the winners are announced.”

The four GDNs, and CO-Gas Safety, have been shortlisted against Affinity Water, eight2O, Lightsout Computer Services with Laing O’Rourke and Severn Trent Water, Severn Trent Water and MWH Treatment, and Wessex Water. Winners of all 11 award categories will be announced at the Utility Week Awards ceremony at the Grosvenor Hotel in Mayfair, London on Monday 11 December.

NGN has also been shortlisted in the Community Initiative of the Year category for their Warm Hubs initiative, a pioneering community project that aims to help residents facing the misery of fuel poverty, isolation and loneliness. The hubs provide warm, friendly places, staffed by volunteers, where vulnerable residents can go to socialise, get warm, have a hot meal and access information, advice and referrals to relevant support. More information is available on the NGN website.

The Utility Week Awards recognise excellence across the industry and reward organisations that have achieved outstanding performance in the last year. The 11 award categories are open to any company involved in the utilities sector – companies producing, distributing and retailing energy or water.

Anyone that smells gas or suspects carbon monoxide should call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999. This line is in operation 24-hours a day, seven days a week.