Electricity Industry Champions Employee Health through Powering Improvement Strategy

The occupational health and wellbeing of employees in the electricity sector is a priority for companies which must be approached with the same importance as safety, according to a senior industry spokesman at the Utility Week Health and Safety Conference. Geoff Earl, Director of Safety Health and Environment at Northern Powergrid was addressing the conference as the 2016 Champion of the ‘Powering Improvement’ strategy; the industry wide partnership which has brought together electricity companies through Energy Networks Association and Energy UK, trade unions and the Health and Safety Executive to deliver sustained improvement in health and safety performance. Since 2010 Powering Improvement has focused the attention of industry on a number of key annual themes which contribute to a successful health and safety strategy, with the 2016 theme promoting occupational ill health to the top of the agenda for participants.

Setting out the importance of the issue, Mr Earl told delegates that across the industry working days lost to sickness and ill health far exceed those from accidents. Collaboration is at the heart of the Powering Improvement strategy and this year has brought together a wide range of stakeholders to build the case for occupational health improvement in an industry that has seen significant progress in safety performance.

A workshop on ‘Managing Occupational Ill Health’ considered interventions and control measures that should form part of a mature response to the health risks within the electricity industry to ensure the physical and mental wellbeing of all employees in a healthy workplace. These have fed into the design of a Journey Roadmap which was presented at the Utility Week Conference and will form the basis of the Powering Improvement approach going forward.

Powering Improvement Champion Geoff Earl told the conference: “The health and safety of employees is a priority in our industry, because every employee and contractor has the right to go home uninjured and in good health at the end of each working day. Our mission, along with our Trade Union and HSE partners, is to deliver practical outputs to help member companies elevate the Health agenda to the status of Health with a capital ‘H’ to sit alongside Safety with a capital ‘S’”.

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