Safe working powers ahead in the electricity industry

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 14 March 2008



(2008), "Safe working powers ahead in the electricity industry", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 40 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Safe working powers ahead in the electricity industry

Article Type: Notes and news From: Industrial and Commercial Training, Volume 40, Issue 2.

Safe working powers ahead in the electricity industry

A new training approach to improve safe working in the electricity-distribution industry has won a North-West regional award in the UK National Training Awards. United Utilities and training provider C2B Media Limited, of Sheffield, produced a program that has helped to improve engineers’ attention to safety, customer service and efficiency.

Paul Blezard, electricity training manager for United Utilities North West (UUNW), commented: “Work on the electricity-distribution system has the potential to cause serious injury or death to staff and the public if approved procedures are not followed. It is therefore essential that work is carried out in accordance with the standards set out in the UUNW codes of practice and safety rules.”

The training targets 600 UUNW employees and 600 contractors over three years. They all need an authorization pass to work on the electricity system. So far, 962 people have completed the program.

The range of specialized tasks is huge, from changing fuses to working on live overhead lines. Among the group of workers there are 82 job roles and more than 300 tasks or authorization codes. Some roles are so complex that individuals hold up to 18 authorizations. The new program formalizes the training process and each employee must successfully complete a competency assessment before role authorization is issued. As performance appraisals are carried out, training needs are identified and fed into individual training plans and training is available on demand.

“Development and implementation of this training have given United Utilities real confidence in our employees’ knowledge and application of electrical safety standards,” said Paul Blezard. “The project has set the standard within the organization in terms of creating a measurable audit trail. We also believe that this approach is a first for the industry.”

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