Health, safety & wellbeing

Health & Safety Logos

In United Utilities our people are our greatest asset. We believe nothing we do is worth getting hurt for and everyone who works for us or on our behalf should go home safe and well. Our aim by 2030 is that no one will be harmed whilst working on our behalf and we will actively promote, support and improve their wellbeing.

To help us reach this aim, we have identified six factors critical to our success including;

  • Active leadership
  • Engaged empowered employees
  • Clear expectations
  • Safe healthy working environments
  • Simple effective systems
  • Continuous improvement.

We will be working relentlessly to ensure our Health, Safety and Wellbeing culture is built upon these six key principles. 

Our policy health, safety and wellbeing policy (PDF 171 KB opens in new window) continues our focus on health and wellbeing, personal safety and process safety whilst also aligning to our future strategy.

Health and Wellbeing

We believe that coming to work should have a positive influence on an individual’s mental health and wellbeing empowering employees to thrive at work. We know that a fitter, healthier workforce are not only happier and more productive, but also have fewer accidents. To help us achieve this, we have several work streams which feed into all areas of employee wellbeing; Preventing ill-health, promoting health and wellbeing and providing support.

We continue to support our established communities of Mental Health First Aiders and Organisational Coaches, and actively participate in local and national campaigns such as ‘My Whole Self’ and ‘Time to Change.’ In addition to this, we offer a suite of interactive training around mental health including training from Zero Suicide Alliance and MIND.

There is a wide range of support and proactive engagement regarding physical health also, from discounted gym membership, online nutritional programmes and challenge based activity tracking to smoking cessation classes and private healthcare

Personal Safety

Over the last few years we have introduced Home Safe and Well which focuses on the behavioural aspects in our Health, Safety and Wellbeing culture across the organisation. Home Safe and Well is a core thread that flows through our Health, Safety and Wellbeing strategy of 3 core pillars; Personal Safety, Process Safety and Health and Wellbeing, which covers our sites, assets and people. Over the last 12 months there has been an intentional focus on employee mental health, expanding our capability in this area.

Since its launch in 2018 we have trained c.5500 colleagues in Home Safe and Well and continue to do so with new starters. We are now in year 3 of our cultural journey where we have seen improvements in our Health and Safety performance year on year. We are continuing to create an environment where we look out for ourselves and each other to ensure all our colleagues go home safe and well and achieve our 2030 aim: no one will be harmed whilst working for or on our behalf and we will actively promote, support and improve their wellbeing.

Our commitment to Health, Safety and Wellbeing has recently been acknowledged; in early 2022 we have been awarded our 10th consecutive RoSPA gold standard medal, which now means we have achieved the RoSPA President's award which is awarded to companies who have "achieved a very high level of performance, demonstrating well developed occupational health and safety management systems and culture, outstanding control of risk and very low levels of error, harm and loss."

In 2021/22, there were 35 incidents that resulted in an absence from work, 9 of which were reportable to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations).  This equates to a RIDDOR accident frequency rate (AFR) of 0.73 injuries per million hours, and a ‘lost time’ AFR of 2.83 injuries per million hours. 

Employees

FY 2018

FY 2019

FY 2020

FY 2021

Number of LTI’s

48

42

35

35

n/ million hours worked

4.62

3.87

2.98

2.83

In 2021/ 22, our contractors were involved in 15 injuries that resulted in an absence from work, 5 of which were reportable under RIDDOR.  This equates to a RIDDOR AFR of 0.43 per million hours, and a ‘lost time’ AFR of 1.3 injuries per million hours.

Contractors

FY 2018

FY 2019

FY 2020

FY 2021

Number of LTI’s

32

30

24

15

n/ million hours worked

2.93

2.75

2.08

1.30

There have been no employee, contractor or sub-contractor fatalities.

Process Safety

Process safety is a blend of engineering and management skills focused on preventing catastrophic accidents, particularly explosions, fires, and toxic releases. These accidents are recognised as low frequency and high consequence, looking at United Utilities these are potential hazards that are present in the treatment of Wastewater and Water.

 

Our approach to process safety will ensure we manage our risks effectively so that people, the environment and our assets are kept safe. We will do this by developing a robust process safety management system that provides a framework for United Utilities to understand risks, ensure safety critical asset integrity, change management and emergency preparedness.

 

As part of our process safety framework there is a Process Safety Improvement Programme in place that is being led by key roles across the business. The purpose of the improvement programme is to embed the requirements and activities detailed in the management system and to benchmark ourselves against best practice in order to close any gaps.

 

By 2030 we have committed to be recognised as industry leaders in process safety, to do this we will continue to develop our capabilities, investigate incidents thoroughly ensuring root causes are identified and translated into corporate knowledge. We will drive the sharing of best practice across the industry and continually measure and track our performance through the use of Process Safety Performance Indicators (PSPIs).