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More than 140 New South Wales businesses have lodged entries in the 2013 WorkCover NSW Safe Work Awards, in the hopes that they will take home one of the six separate awards on offer.

In a statement released earlier this month, WorkCover confirmed that this has been the highest number of entrants ever received in the contest’s 10-year-long history.

Entrants came from across both metropolitan and regional NSW. They cover a variety of diverse industries, and range in size from SMEs to large businesses, and even non-profits and government organisations.

The WorkCover NSW SafeWork Awards started in 2004 as a way of recognising NSW businesses that were encouraging high work health and safety standards, and promoting more of the same behaviour.

All 141 entrants in this year’s awards have been congratulated by NSW Finance and Services Minister Andrew Constance for participating in the contest, and for actively working to improve workplace safety.

“Each entry marks a workplace safety achievement reflecting either a reduction in lost time injuries or an introduction of a new initiative to make the business safer and ultimately more productive,” said Mr Constance.

The various categories that businesses will compete in this year include “Best individual contribution to workplace health and safety” and “Best workplace health and safety management system”.

For the first time, this year’s WorkCover awards will also feature two separate categories designed to commemorate those who have gone above and beyond to assist injured workers in returning to work.

According to Mr Constance, more than 20 finalists have been selected across the “Excellence in Return to Work for business” and “Return to Work achievement award for workers” awards.

“It is important that businesses are acknowledged for their efforts in helping those who have been injured to get back to suitable and sustainable employment as quickly as possible,” said Mr Constance.

The winners of the 2013 WorkCover NSW Safe Work Awards will be announced on October 31. Judges include WorkCover NSW senior representatives, as well as experts from trade unions and specialist WHS safety organisations.

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