Utility Week

Utility Week 5th December 2014

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26 | 5th - 11th December 2014 | UtILItY WeeK "Many people do not like the Fee for Intervention. Many people wish it would go away. We introduced it two years ago and we did so extremely carefully. It's now been reviewed by an independent panel. The review confirmed it is work- ing, it is here to stay." Samantha Peace, divisional director, health & Safety executive "In terms of continuous im- provement and making our utilities industry excellent, collaboration is absolutely fundamental. We make no apologies for copying ideas and innovations of others." Adam Gosnold, executive director, morrison Utility Services "What a good occupational health and wellbeing strategy will do is demonstrate that as employees, your health and your wellbeing is particularly important to us as managers, senior managers in the business, and indeed as a corporate entity." Tony Ashford, head of safety, health and wellbeing, thames Water "Engagement is often a key performance indicator nowadays at board level. It's measured in employee surveys, but in fact you cannot have sustainable engagement without wellbeing. There is lots of evidence and good science that says ensuring that managers are com- petent will promote mental wellbeing, prevent stress, and promote sustainable engagement." John McCaul, chief medical officer, Npower Conference report Health and Safety 2014, 25 November Operations & Assets Safety talk O ne might imagine that Utility Week's Health & Safety Confer- ence would primarily occupy itself with legislation, rules and pro- hibitions, making for a fairly dry affair. Aer all, 2014 marks 40 years since the Health and Safety Work Act came into force, the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in the UK. In fact, the conference had a far more human focus. One key theme that cropped up time and again was the need for better communication of health and safety policy to employees. A fun example offered by Morrison Utilities was of a toolbox cartoon strip, which got a serious message across in a light-touch way. Representatives from the HSE acknowledged that the commission sometimes distributed more technical guidance than was neces- sary, and that this could muddy the waters. However, they also said that the way compa- nies communicated about health and safety generally needed to change. 'Wellbeing' emerged as an important con- cept for companies to get to grips with. With between 1 in 4 and 1 in 7 of us suffering from a common mental health problem (CMHP) at any one time, it is an area that needs addressing. Not only do CMHPs account for a large proportion of absences, they also result in presenteeism – where people turn up for work despite being sick. This costs businesses in terms of efficiency, and a lack of appropriate management in this area will open the door for litigation, warned John McCaul, chief medical officer at Npower. The key point that many delegates took away from last week's event, however, was that it is through greater collaboration between companies that health and safety standards can be significantly improved. "Grasp what you can from other people" and "nick and borrow" were the mantras. by Lucinda Dann The speakers' key points 5 TO THINK ABOUT... 1. Repeat, repeat, repeat: Keep communication simple and streamlined. 2. Encourage positive interventions: When the threat of punishment is removed, near-miss reports increase. 3. Demonstrate concern: Employees need to know you actually care, and that managers are competent in dealing with health issues. 4. Focus on wellbeing: Common mental health costs businesses a lot of money through absences. 5. Design for safety: Process safety is inherently about safe design. Think about the consequence of what you do.

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