Last month was the inaugural St John Ambulance First Aid Awards, our first event to recognise businesses leading the way in protecting their staff and customers. The event, which was hosted by BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth, paid tribute to some of the extraordinary companies going the extra mile with first aid.

The awards received the support of a number of celebrities, including presenter Matthew Wright who would have choked to death without first aid, and wilderness survival expert Ray Mears, who gave first aid to a fellow crew member when he was involved in a helicopter accident during filming. HRH The Countess of Wessex, was also in attendance.

However, the evening was not about the famous faces giving out the awards. It was a celebration of the first aid heroes who have been the difference between and life lost and a life saved in workplaces across the country. As Chair of the judges I was fortunate to come across so many amazing stories, but some companies really stood out.

3 Trees Community Support were the unanimous choice of all of us judges for the Overall Work Place of the Year Award for going above and beyond the legal requirement in first aid training. The judges believed that 3 Trees Community Support communicated the importance of first aid on every level, and that the safety of their employees and customers was held at the heart of the organisation.

Other businesses that were recognised for their commitment to work place safety include:

  •  Lafarge Aggregates, winner of Construction
  • Simplyhealth, winner of Financial Services & Insurance
  • Shoreham Port Authority, winner of Manufacturing & Logistics
  • Burton & South Derbyshire College, winner of Public Sector
  • CGGVeritas – Crawley, winner of Technology

With up to 150,000 people dying each year in situations where first aid could have given them a chance to live, these companies’ training and dedication is vital. Having a minimum number of trained first aiders is a legal requirement, but businesses who go the extra mile not only further help ensure the safety of their employees and customers but their communities as well since first aid skills learnt in the workplace are often used elsewhere to save lives.

It was a great evening and everyone at St John Ambulance was proud and delighted to honour all the businesses and people who really have been the difference for the people and communities around them.