Herbert Parkinson named winner of Risk Reduction Through Design Award

British textile manufacturer Herbert Parkinson has received an award for an innovative tool that helps protect workers from developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

The Risk Reduction Through Design Award 2020/21, sponsored by The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF), recognises design innovation to reduce the risk of MSDs.

MSDs include injuries and conditions that can affect the back, joints and limbs. The parts of the body most likely to be affected are the lower back, shoulders, forearms, wrists and hands, as well as the neck the hips, legs, knees, ankles and feet.

Winning company, Herbert Parkinson, worked with designer David Atherton to develop a 3D printed handheld tool, which can be used to insert a large number of curtain hooks into curtain headers. Workers in the packaging and inspection team had previously been inserting up to 200 metal pin hooks into curtain headers by hand every day, but the new ergonomically designed tool enables workers to slide the hooks in easier, preventing pain in their fingers and hands.

Herbert Parkinson winning 3D printed handheld tool

Head of HSE’s Health and Work Branch and chair of this year’s judging panel Ali Wellens said: “The Risk Reduction Through Design Award is intended to highlight the important contribution that design changes can make in reducing risks of musculoskeletal disorders.

“We would like to congratulate Herbert Parkinson for their efforts to reduce the risks of MSDs in the workplace and improve the lives of their employees.

“We also want to encourage other businesses, large and small, to consider how they could make design changes to eliminate or reduce the risks of MSDs in their workplaces.”

Herbert Parkinson, the John Lewis Textiles Factory, was proud to receive the Risk Reduction Through Design Award in recognition of their work.

Partner and branch safety advisor at John Lewis & Partners Rachael Murray said: “Our partners are what make our business, so it’s critical that we listen and act on what they tell us – particularly where health, safety and wellbeing are concerned.

“Managing the risks of musculoskeletal disorders not only keep our partners safe, but it’s made business sense, reducing absenteeism and improving productivity. Our partners in Herbert Parkinson are thrilled by this award, which helps put risk reduction at the heart of business.”

The award was presented at the CIEHF’s annual (virtual) awards ceremony on the 18 June 2021.


Chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors Dr Noorzaman Rashid said: “We are delighted to collaborate with HSE on these awards to recognise innovation that can make a significant contribution to life, wellbeing and performance.
“Congratulations to our winner and thank you to everyone who entered.”


Commendations were also given to Tilda Limited who in collaboration with designer Russell Finex designed a new workstation layout incorporating a vibratory sieve used to break down heavy frozen rice blocks into small rice grains for use in food products; and BOC Crawley who designed height adjustable gas cylinder filling rigs enabling workers to adopt more comfortable postures when filling gas cylinder bottles.


Submissions for the 2021/22 Risk Reduction in Design Award are now open.



Notes to Editors:

For more information about the Risk Reduction Through Design Award visit: https://bit.ly/35rMEF6
For more information on musculoskeletal disorders and how to mitigate the risks visit: https://bit.ly/3dJRT82
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk