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Lone working the next focus the electricity industry’s leading safety initiative

29 February 2024


Energy Networks Association (ENA) has announced the latest theme of the industry’s leading safety initiative, Powering Improvement, is “supporting individuals working alone.”

The Powering Improvement initiative, operated by ENA, is supporting the electricity sector in its drive to reduce the number of fatalities, life changing injuries or major safety incidents down to zero, while encouraging a more engaged and healthier workforce by 2025.

The theme will help to support and empower individuals in the following areas:

  • Working on the low voltage distribution system
  • Managing occupational fatigue
  • Reducing risks of violence & harassment
  • Managing road risks
  • Developing a more caring culture focused on individual wellbeing
  • Embracing innovation and low-carbon technology

The Powering Improvement initiative represents a collaborative effort between ENA, industries, trade unions, and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). As it enters its third phase, Powering Improvement remains focused on safeguarding the well-being of the energy workforce as the sector works to deliver the net zero transition. By promoting a positive health and safety culture, it aims to help effectively manage health and safety risks.

Cordi O’Hara OBE, President, National Grid Electricity Distribution and one of ENA’s Powering Improvement champions for 2024/25, said:

“I am very pleased to take on the role of a Powering Improvement Champion, particularly this year, as supporting individuals working alone is a crucial step towards making everyone safer at work.    

“After more than 20 years in the energy industry I know that even with the best systems, policies and procedures in place, positive and constructive working relationships are also vital if staff are to continually improve and achieve all they can.

“We need to remember staff are not just employees but partners in the sector’s journey towards net zero. By valuing and investing in our employees, we can cultivate a motivated and engaged workforce that is committed to helping the UK deliver our sustainable future.”

Simon Coop, National Officer – Energy and Utilities Sector, Unite the Union, and another Powering Improvement champion, said:

"I am very happy to be a champion for Powering Improvement this year. Individuals often operate in challenging and potentially hazardous environments, where their safety and well-being are paramount. By providing adequate support, businesses can help mitigate these risks and ensure the physical and mental well-being of their employees. This includes implementing robust safety protocols, offering comprehensive training programs, promoting a culture of reporting, addressing incidents of violence and harassment and regularly monitoring and addressing fatigue-related issues.

“By prioritising the support of individuals working alone, businesses can create a safer and more inclusive working environment whilst fostering a sense of trust, confidence, and productivity among their workforce.

“Working alongside Union Health and Safety Committees and trained union Safety Reps in the workplace pays dividends in ensuring the highest of safety standards.”

Press contacts for journalists

ENA Press Office


Notes to editor

  • For more information, visit the Powering Improvement website.
  • Powering Improvement is more than just a strategy; it’s a commitment to continuous enhancement in safety practices. It aims to reduce work-related injuries and illnesses, aligning with the government objectives. The initiative has operated in three distinct phases:
  1. Phase 1 (2010-2015): The foundation was laid with a focus on leadership, emphasizing the importance of safety culture at all levels within the sector.
  2. Phase 2 (2015-2020): Collaborating with contractors and addressing occupational health risks took centre stage. Asset management and human factors were also key areas of concern.
  3. Phase 3 (2020-2025): The current phase priorities occupational health, mental well-being and the unique challenges posed by COVID-19.

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 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.

More information