SHE 2011 round-up: Leadership and individual responsibility critical to maintaining our ‘lower risk’ energy industry

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 2:00PM

The energy industry’s 22nd Annual Safety, Health and Environment Management Conference organised by Energy Networks Association has heard from government, industry and unions on why sustained leadership is vital to retaining the industry’s status as a ‘lower risk’ area for the Health and Safety Executive. There was a big focus on the industry’s Powering Improvement Strategy from all the speakers. It was recognised as an essential tool in delivering improved health and safety across the industry.  

With examples from occupational health to Fukushima and a slip to a fatality, the message from all was that the body follows the head. Leading by example and senior staff taking an active role in health and safety are the best ways of ensuring a healthy workforce stays safe.  

Recognising their ‘lower risk’ status, Jane Willis, Director of Cross-cutting Interventions at the Health and Safety Executive spoke of the new system for improving interventions in workplace health and safety enforcement and said, “It is better to prevent than to deal with the consequences. That is why leadership is so important.”  

The conference also heard from Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work in the government who explained that health and wellbeing in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility, an integral part of the big society and it was no mistake that the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley is the first in his position to talk about health and safety at work.  

Director of Safety, Health and Environment at E.ON UK, Derrick Farthing added the business perspective to this important continued affirmation of the vital role health and safety plays in the industry saying, “The business case for successful health and safety management is clear. Investment in quality leadership and effective process safety is invaluable.”  

However, Paul Noon, General Secretary of Prospect warned, “cooperation in health and safety is essential and it requires investment. Good workplace health and safety is good for everyone and cuts to HSE are unwelcome.”  

Speaking of the recognition HSE has given the work of the energy industry to address health and safety, David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association said, “For an industry with such a large potential risk to be trusted so much as to be considered lower risk is a huge success and points to a very positive story of the vast amount of work done to ensure prevention of harm is part of the energy industry’s DNA.”

For further information please contact:  
Tim Field, Press and Public Affairs Executive  
Energy Networks Association  
E: [email protected]  
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