Electricity supply, network and generating companies have joined with trade unions (GMB, Prospect, Unison and Unite) and HSE to launch the new five-year phase of the Powering Improvement health and safety programme.
Powering Improvement's last five-year phase was particularly successful across the sector, in which network companies saw accident and injury rates fall by nearly 25%. Since the programme began in 2010, those same rates have fallen by more than 50%. Across energy suppliers and energy generators as well the Powering Improvement programme has helped build on the good progress made and continued the reductions in incidents and accidents.
This year, efforts remain concentrated on maintaining good health and wellbeing of staff across the industry. This is a high priority for companies as working days lost to sickness and ill health far exceed those from accidents. The focus over the next five years remains on making sure that all staff can return home safely.
In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic introduced a number of additional direct and indirect risks to all industries, but Powering Improvement enabled collective and collaborative efforts across the sector to manage these issues.
The commitment to safety and good health at work within the electricity industry will continue through the next phase of the Powering Improvement initiative, ensuring companies, trade unions and the regulators continually engage to ensure the impacts of health and safety risks are limited and that people within the sector can all go home engaged and healthier at the end of a productive day.
David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association which represents the UK and Ireland’s energy networks businesses said:
“Keeping our staff and the public safe and well will continue to be critical for the electricity industry which is why Powering Improvement is so important. Working across such a wide range of companies and partners including trade unions and HSE is so important and the only way we’ll continue to see health and safety levels improve.
“In the next five years, Powering Improvement will continue to support the electricity industry in its aim to be as safe as possible and to have an engaged and healthier workforce.”
Audrey Gallacher, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Policy at Energy UK who represent both energy suppliers and generators said:
“The energy industry is committed to the highest level of health and safety standards to protect workers, contractors and the public. Energy UK and its members in both generation and supply are pleased to continue this important work and to collaborate with colleagues across the whole industry, including Trade Unions and regulators.
“This new phase of the strategy will continue to build and improve on our strong record on physical health, but we are also focussing particularly on the mental health and wellbeing of every worker in every job across the sector.”
Sue Ferns Senior Deputy General Secretary, Prospect said:
“Powering Improvement demonstrates the importance of collaborative working between unions, companies and the HSE to drive to zero accidents and good health. Trade unions welcome the 2021 focus on occupational health, and will be working to secure real progress in relation to mental ill-health, stress and fatigue. Quite rightly, this next phase of Powering Improvement will be judged not by intention but by impact – so joint communication, training and delivery will be key.”
About Energy Networks Association
Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.
ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.
Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Grid Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.
What are energy network operators?
Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 40,000 people in Great Britain.