Safe working practices

Working safely is part of good operational management. We apply the Alliander Life Saving Rules to achieve this. However, the challenges we see for Alliander in the coming years will lead to increased safety risks. On balance, we are having to handle a much higher workload, under high pressure, with many new employees. It is our duty to make sure everyone gets home safely. Every accident is one too many. Although we are making good progress, too often things still go wrong, or almost go wrong. Regrettably, 88 accidents occurred at work in 2022 (2021: 69). These incidents mostly involved falls and trips, traffic accidents, impacts and being hit by moving parts. Unfortunately, two incidents resulted in serious injuries. 

Changes are required if we are to fulfil our mission in terms of safety. Not only do we need to strengthen our existing safety system, structure and training, we also need to ensure that safety is embedded in our behaviour and that everyone feels co-responsible for safety. To achieve this, we launched a transition programme to improve safety in 2022. This transition focuses on three key aspects: safety controls, broad safety expertise and safe behaviour.

Safety controls

In 2022, we introduced a new mobile app that allows colleagues to report dangerous situations and incidents to their manager. Accidents, near misses and incidents are discussed in the organisational units’ Incident Review Group. If necessary, the reason for a reported incident and associated causes are investigated, so that targeted management action can be taken (nationally if necessary). An occupational health and safety risk assessment and evaluation is carried out periodically for each organisational unit. Improvements are noted and discussed with management.

Broad safety expertise

All our colleagues and our partners’ staff have the knowledge and skills to work and act safely. We embed this in employee selection, assessment, training and education by explicitly defining the skills required for each role. We assess colleagues' technical and personal skills and keep them in line with the required standard. In 2022, 2,001 employees and 272 contracted parties passed their safety training exams. We arranged workshops on safety dilemmas, CER and learning from incident reports. We showed each other that we can engage in open-minded conversation and are ready to listen to each other.

Safe behaviour

A broad social norm applies whereby everyone is responsible for their own and others' safety. We expect everyone to visibly display the desired level of safety in their behaviour. We do this by making managers explicitly responsible for safety and a socially safe workplace. We ensure that safety and safety dilemmas are discussed. Finally, we communicate the safety framework clearly by zooming in on the agreements that have been made and good examples. We monitor safe behaviour during safety inspection rounds. This may lead to open discussion between employees, contractors and managers when unsafe behaviour is observed. As a result, unsafe situations and risks can be addressed more effectively, and the level of safety awareness increases. During Safety Week in October, many teams arranged extra safety inspection rounds. A number of managers talked explicitly with their own teams about safety and how to handle situations in which you are tempted to engage in unsafe behaviour. Above all, we showed each other that we can engage in open-minded conversation and are ready to listen to each other. 

Safety in the supply chain

Safety is not just a matter for our own organisation. We achieve safety in collaboration with our supply chain partners, contractors, suppliers, customers and local residents. There were 24 incidents involving injury suffered by contractors’ staff and 17 incidents in which our work led to injuries suffered by passers-by. We are responsible for implementing measures to prevent accidents involving employees, including those of our supply chain partners, and passers-by. We therefore endorse the Safe Energy Networks Governance Code. We also evaluate and discuss incidents in the Contractors Platform. The purpose is to learn so that we can improve our work processes and continuously increase safety at work. 

Primary process certification

Assessment by independent and accredited organisations generates information that Alliander uses to improve the management system and performance in the primary process chain. In addition, Alliander sees certification as the appropriate instrument for confirming and demonstrating that Alliander controls risks and assures and improves quality. The management system is based on ISO 9001, supplemented if necessary by certification according to ISO 55001, NTA 8120, ISO 14001, ISO 27001 and the Safety Culture Ladder. An overview of the certificates and their scope is provided in Other non-financial information.

Lost Time Injury Frequency

Lost Time Injury Frequency (LTIF) expresses the number of accidents resulting in sickness absence per one million worked hours. The LTIF in 2022 was 1.7, which is an improvement relative to the LTIF in 2021 (2.6). 

Employees can report dangerous situations and incidents to their manager or supervisor through immediately accessible (digital) channels.

Lost Time Accidents

Accidents with no lost time

Score on the Safety Culture Ladder

In November 2022, an external auditor assessed Alliander's position on the Safety Culture Ladder. We have now achieved level 3 on the ladder. This year is noteworthy because Alliander as a whole was assessed, rather than the individual organisational units. Our attention for safety and readiness to address safety in our projects and the fact that we actively discuss safety were seen as positive aspects. Furthermore, the collaboration with contractors is better. But there were still areas for improvement. For example, the auditor felt that we should discuss and analyse the underlying causes of unsafe behaviour more explicitly and further improve safety among subcontractors and self-employed workers.