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Safety

45,000 people support the safe delivery of energy to over 30 million homes and businesses. Keeping everyone safe is at the heart of everything we do.

We're committed to reducing the number of injuries caused by people coming into contact with the electricity and gas networks.

Health and safety is a core consideration for the energy networks. This means the health and safety of the public we serve and the workforce that maintains and operates the networks. We are guided by a will to learn from the past to ensure our members are equipped for the future.

Our Public Safety Committee, which brings together experts from each of our members, has concentrated on reaching people whose activities, through work or leisure, could bring them close to overhead lines or underground cables.

For the 45,000 people who work in our industry, we’ve launched Powering Improvement, the industry’s plan to be a world leader in safety, in partnership with Energy UK. We also work with trades unions, our members, HSE and other experts to produce safety-related materials and raise awareness and work to resolve common concerns and issues.

We've also produced a series of public safety leaflets and cab stickers through extensive consultation with member organisations and key stakeholders including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The leaflets contain safety advice to members of the general public and industry workers who may come into close proximity or contact with networks assets. The stickers can be printed and displayed in plant cabs, such as tractors, tippers and HIAB vehicles. The suite of leaflets and stickers can be found in the Resource library.

Powering Improvement

The health and safety of the public we serve and the workforce that maintains and operates the networks is a core consideration for the energy networks. Through a number of joint strategies, initiatives and advisory bodies, we support energy network employees in carrying out their work in a safe and healthy manner.

Powering Improvement is the joint health and safety strategy between ENA and Energy UK members, trade unions and the Health and Safety Executive. It is designed to promote continuous improvement in safety and occupational health in the energy networks and generation sectors.

The main objective of Powering Improvement is to to cut days lost to work-related injury and ill-health in line with the government’s targets. The plan progresses in three phases (2010-2015, 2015-2020 and 2020-2025) and has three overarching themes running throughout its duration:

  • Leadership
  • Improving competence
  • Worker involvement

To maintain momentum throughout the three main phases, Powering Improvement focuses each year on a core health and safety theme identified as a priority area for our sector:

  • 2010 Leadership
  • 2011 Occupational health and wellbeing
  • 2012 Asset management and maintenance
  • 2013 Behavioural safety and personal responsibility
  • 2014 Beyond 2015 – the next steps
  • 2015 Working with contractors
  • 2016 Managing occupational ill health risks
  • 2017 Asset management
  • 2018 Human and organisational factors
  • 2019 Review of progress and developing the next phase
  • 2020 Occupational health and mental wellbeing

Visit our Powering Improvement website for the health and safety strategy, and includes the Occupational Health Roadmap tool and other collective guidance material.

Our safety campaigns

We run safety campaigns every year, specifically targeting people and industries most at risk.

  • Look out, look up!

    On average, one farm worker dies each year as a result of contact with an overhead power line. In the last five years, there were 1,140 near-miss incidents involving machinery and overhead power lines where serious injury or death was a possibility.

    In response to the scale of such incidents, Energy Networks Association and GB’s electricity network operators have joined forces to launch Look Out Look Up! – the key objectives are to:

    • Raise awareness of the risks of overhead power lines
    • Increase understanding of how to deal with them safely
    • Motivate people who may come into contact with power lines to adopt safe behaviours
    • Encourage people to recognise 105 as the national number for power emergencies across the UK

    Visit the Look Out, Look Up! campaign site

  • Watch Out, Cables About!

    People die each year due to accidentally striking underground cables in the ground, whilst others suffer life changing injury with the lives of families also suffering as a result. The risk of danger can be considerably reduced by following some simple safety tips.

    Visit the Watch Out, Cables About! campaign page

  • Think before you dig

    An average of 70 people a year are seriously injured as a result of contact with underground electricity cables. Nearly half of all cases were reported on public highways, construction sites and industrial buildings making tradespeople at extreme risk of serious injury in the workplace. The risk of danger can be considerably reduced by following some simple safety tips.

    Visit the Think Before You Dig campaign page.

  • Anglers

    Angling is generally safe but serious or fatal injuries have come from contacting overhead electric power lines. Longer carbon fibre fishing poles have been a factor in some of these incidents. Types of incidents reported include burns, major injuries and deaths.

    Inspections suggest many more minor or near miss incidents are not reported so not included in accident figures. In recent years, numbers of incidents have been reduced, mainly by campaigns supported by the electricity industry, angling groups, landowners and the tackle trade.

    But still, every year, fishing line is found hanging from overhead electric power lines with no report of incident or injury.

    Read the guidance for anglers