In February, a colleague at Liandon died after an accident during voltage transformer measurements at the substation in Elst. This made a deep impression throughout the company. Liandon commissioned an independent investigation into the immediate and underlying causes of the accident. Based on the findings, additional measures were taken to further enhance the safety of measurement work. Liandon tightened up the instructions for safe measurements and the lessons learned were shared in meetings at sector level. In addition, safety risks and measures are now specifically addressed during the pre-job meetings at the start of every day. It is good to note that effective steps to improve safety were made in the past years, but every incident is one too many.
Number of accidents
In 2016, 23 accidents at Alliander resulted in absenteeism (2015: 24). These incidents underscore the risks of working with gas and electricity – both for our employees and for everyone else in the vicinity of our work. Safe and healthy working practices must therefore be given top priority at all times, with no concessions being made. Whilst technological solutions can help to increase safety, we must above all change our thinking and avoid risks pro-actively. ‘Everyone safely home’ remains our objective.
Everyone safely home
Alliander works continuously to raise safety awareness at every level in the organisation. Training and instructions are provided to prepare colleagues for their work on technical installations, and personal protective equipment is made available to guarantee their safety. Our aim at Alliander is to make safety integral to our thinking and acting – from designer to purchaser and from engineer to manager.
In 2016, Alliander launched a company-wide safety programme to increase the safety of customers, employees and suppliers. All safety-related aspects are covered, including processes, components, training, safety culture, incident follow-up and investigations. The objective is: 'Everyone safely home'.
Safety days for families and partners
Following the fatal accident in Elst in 2016, Liandon took the initiative to organise family and partner days. During these informal days, family members are told about the work that their partner, father or mother does and how we ensure they can do their work as safely as possible. We also explain the ins and outs of the energy world and provide a guided tour of a substation. Safety is the recurrent theme. In 2016, seven safety days were held by different teams.
Safety in the energy chain
‘Everyone safely home’ is a pledge that also extends to colleagues of external parties we work with. Safe working practices are vital to prevent incidents, as well as to ensure the safety of the colleague responsible for the next step in the chain. The placement of smart meters is a good example. Between now and 2020, Liander will place thousands of meters at customers every week. To Alliander, safety comes before the correct and fast placement of smart meters. Our smart meter engineers therefore received extra briefings on safe working practices. Last year, safety ambassadors were appointed to promote safety awareness within the organisation.
Monitoring safety with Lost Time Injury Frequency
We use the Lost Time Injury Frequency (LTIF) rate to measure our safety performance. This expresses employee safety as the number of accidents resulting in absenteeism per 1 million worked hours. In 2016, the LTIF stood at 2.0. This was within our target for 2016.
Safety ladder score unchanged in 2016
Within Liander and Liandon, we periodically measure the level of safety within our organisation. The tool we use for this purpose is the safety ladder. In the year under review, 34% of our operations scored 3 or higher on the safety ladder. The objective is and remains 30% or higher. Due to a change in the measurement method, the score is hard to compare with 2015. The safety ladder helps us to improve the safety culture within our company.