Health andasafety logOur philosophy, ‘nothing we do is worth getting hurt for’, is increasingly apparent in our business, and was recently demonstrated when an OHSAS 18001 auditor commented that ‘health and safety runs through the veins of the company’.

Over the last 12 months, we’ve made further progress in keeping colleagues and contractors safe and sound, whether they have an operational role, or work in an office environment.

Initiatives have included:

Taking a lead: we’ve made a conscious effort to focus on our managers and how they lead health and safety. We launched the ‘Managers’ Guide’, which highlights leadership responsibilities towards teams and sites. The guide has helped ensure there are consistent standards across the business.

We launched a Behavioural Management Techniques (BMT) training course, primarily with the management team in wastewater services, to embed the right thinking and approach.

We’ve also introduced an improved approach to incident investigation. The health and safety team were trained in advanced incident investigation techniques in order to maximise the learning opportunities from incidents and near-misses. This has been supplemented with an e-learning package to help managers understand the core principles, making sure that all investigations use the same methodology.

Simplicity, clarity, consistency: Last year, our risk assessments went through a significant overhaul to make the process more intuitive for all. We now have 36 generic assessments from which task-based risk assessments can be derived. This has made the process simpler and more consistent across our sites, making responsibilities clearer and ensuring controls are simple and understandable. We’ve trained over 2,000 people in this new approach and the feedback has been very positive.

Colleagues making the right call: We saw improvements in our performance when reporting near-miss, hazards and incidents. In the last 12 months, we’ve more than doubled the number of reports through our employee Accident and Incident Reporting (AIR) line, in comparison to the previous year - helping us to identify more hazards and therefore mitigating them. This has helped to share best practices across the wider team.

Meeting our targets: Over a 12 month rolling period we were successful in achieving our annual accident frequency rate target of 0.166. We also experienced no fatalities over the course of the year. You can find our overall Accident Frequency Rate, here.

In-house training: There are now three dedicated in-house health and safety trainers, who’ve delivered 6,993 days of training across the business.  We’ve acted on feedback from our staff to make sure more training is delivered by trainers who have a solid understanding of the delegate’s role and what they do, day to day.

Health and wellbeing: Over the last year, we’ve kept a strong focus on the wellbeing of our staff. We believe in everyone having an adequate work-life balance, so we’ve introduced an early intervention process for those who are most at risk of developing stress, taking proactive steps to place the emphasis on prevention rather than cure.

After working closely with the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), we installed 30 defibrillators across our sites. Along with NWAS, we held awareness sessions on how and when they are to be used.

In addition, we joined forces with Water UK companies to hold a Wellbeing Week, which covered a variety of daily topics. To keep the momentum going throughout the year, we have held regular wellbeing events across our sites to help our employees understand what UU services are available to them.

If you would like to send us a comment about this report, please email our Head of Sustainability, Chris Matthews