As part of ENA’s infographic campaign, Andrew Hopkins, Director of Operations at Wales and West Utilities writes about the importance of safety and how health and wellbeing of employees is a top priority for energy network companies. Check out the full series of ENA's infographics here.
At Wales & West Utilities safety for our colleagues and our customers is a top priority, and while we’re the only gas network to receive 4 consecutive ROSPA Gold Awards for our health and safety processes and performance, we’re continually looking for ways to keep our colleagues and customers even safer.
The gas network – heating homes and powering businesses, is safe and reliable, and keeps the communities we serve safe and warm. A key part of the work we do every day is to operate the gas emergency service across Wales and the south west of England. We respond to approximately 80,000 gas leaks a year, and we regularly outperform our emergency response targets.
We’re also ahead of schedule on our gas pipe investment programme – upgrading more than 400km of old metal gas pipes to new plastic ones to make our gas network even more resilient and reliable.
Our safety performance is supported by our innovation strategy. We’ve developed new tools to keep our customers and colleagues safe. Our series of gas pipe cutters make cutting into old metal gas pipes easier for colleagues while improving our customer’s experience and reducing the time gas supplies are interrupted when work is going on. And the smart pressure test device which we are rolling out will replace traditional water gauges to pressure test gas supplies to homes, making sure the tests we do are accurate and fully recorded, reassuring our customers and making sure we continue to keep the communities we serve safe and warm.
Just as important is the support we provide to our colleagues wellbeing. Our new Wellbeing Strategy supports our safety performance. It considers each colleague as a holistic whole, making sure we look after their mental health and support them in other aspects of life in the same way we look after their physical health. We’ve reduced musculoskeletal injuries through safe working practices, more effective and innovative tools, and now we’ve brought our focus to bear on mental health too. Through innovative ideas like Mental Health First Aiders – colleagues in various job roles and locations across our network, we’re hoping to help our colleagues be safe and healthy long into the future.