Energy networks reaffirm commitment to work safety during COVID-19

Energy networks reaffirm commitment to work safety during COVID-19

Energy network companies have reaffirmed their commitments to keeping more than 36,000 workers safe as the UK transitions out of the coronavirus lockdown.

Hard hat

From the outset of COVID-19, energy network companies have developed and adopted safe working practices in consultation with colleagues, contractors and trades unions to keep staff and customers safe.

New COVID-19 risk assessments are being completed in consultation with trade union health and safety representatives and will be shared with staff, contractors and electricity Industry colleagues, demonstrating transparency and ensuring they are easily accessible.

David Smith, chief executive of Energy Networks Association, said:

“The energy networks have truly put colleagues and customers at the heart of their COVID-19 plans from the outset. Arguably, the most challenging times lie ahead as the country gradually eases lockdown measures, to varying degrees and in differing timescales. Continuing to work with our colleagues directly and through their trades unions and put them and customers first will be paramount to getting this right.”

The measures will include workers continuing to work from home, wherever they are able to do so. However, companies are also using this time to suitably plan for how colleagues can safely come back into offices when the time is right.

Where workers need to leave their homes to keep the country’s energy flowing, social distancing rules will apply. This is being maintained through the use of physical barriers, for example a one person per vehicle rule whenever possible, and creating shift patterns or fixed teams to minimise the number of people in contact with one another.

Sue Ferns, Prospect senior deputy general secretary added:

“Ensuring the health and safety of colleagues is key to a successful transition that maintains service to customers.  Consistent and constructive engagement at company and national level has ensured that energy network companies have been able to complete essential work with high standards of health and safety.

“We must continue this throughout the transition to a new normal as well as making sure that the same high standards are followed by all contractors and suppliers. Companies, customers and trade unions have a shared interest in ensuring a safe, resilient and reliable network.”