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April 18, 2011

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Energy sector focused on maintaining ‘low-risk’ rating

Key players in the energy industry have stressed the importance of sustained leadership in retaining the sector’s ‘lower risk’ status in the eyes of the HSE.

This message was the key theme at the energy industry’s Safety, Health and Environment Management Conference, which is organised by the Energy Networks Association. One of the key focus areas at the event, which was held last week in Birmingham, was the Powering Improvement Strategy, which pledges continuous improvements in the management of safety and occupational health in the electricity sector in the five years leading up to 2015. The strategy was recognised as an essential tool in delivering improved health and safety across the industry.

HSE director of cross-cutting interventions, Jane Willis, explained that it’s important for senior staff to lead by example and take an active role in health and safety, as this is one of the best ways of ensuring that the workforce stays safe. She 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, the Government’s national director for health and work in the government who explained that health and well-being in the workplace are everyone’s responsibility. She said it is an integral part of the big society and 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.

However, Prospect general secretary, Paul Noon, warned that the funding cuts at the HSE will have a damaging result on health and safety across every sector. He said: “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.”

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