Field, T. (2011), "Energy Industry’s 22nd Annual Safety, Health and Environment Management Conference, Birmingham, UK, April 13-15, 2011", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 10 No. 5. https://doi.org/10.1108/shr.2011.37210eaa.012
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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Energy Industry’s 22nd Annual Safety, Health and Environment Management Conference, Birmingham, UK, April 13-15, 2011
Article Type: Resources From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 10, Issue 5
Leadership and individual responsibility are critical to maintaining the UK’s “lower risk” energy industry. This conclusion was reached at the UK Energy Industry’s 22nd Annual Safety, Health and Environment Management Conference. Organized by Energy Networks Association, attendees 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 (HSE). There was a big focus from all the speakers on Powering Improvement, a five-year strategy from government and industry to bring about continuous improvement in safety and occupational health in the energy generation and networks sectors. It was recognized 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.
Leadership highlighted as key
Recognizing 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 and an integral part of the big society and point out that 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 EON UK, an integrated power and gas company, Derrick Farthing added the business perspective to this important continued affirmation of the vital role health and safety plays in the industry. He said: “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.”
Tim FieldPress and Public Affairs Executive at Energy Networks Association.