- No. of employees: 11,500 in 2003
- Business sector: Utilities
- Business activities: Gas transportation
- Stakeholders: Employees, contractors, customers, shareholders
- Location: Great Britain
Transco transports natural gas, maintains the supply infrastructure, and operates the national gas emergency service. Through its integration of health and safety into overall business management, and a partnership approach with employees and safety representatives, injuries were substantially reduced.
In 1998 there were 543 lost time injuries (LTIs) to Transco’s 15,300 employees. This level of pain and suffering to its workforce was unacceptable to the company, which believes safety is paramount. In addition, it was a significant cost to the business.
What did the company do?
- Regular meetings – health and safety on agenda of all management meetings plus frequent specific meetings between managers, safety representatives and safety advisors
- Accident investigation – a manager and a safety representative investigate LTIs on the day they occur, and lessons learnt are promptly shared with staff.
- Line managers take responsibility – clear allocation of responsibility to line managers, held accountable through staff performance process, and supported by safety management training
- Easy reporting by employees – hotlines established with one telephone number for staff to ensure hazards and incidents are reported and resolved.
- Effective communications – monthly briefings for staff on issues and improvements using photos and videos.
- Health and safety leadership skills transferable to other areas of business performance
- Over 80% reduction in lost time injuries from 35.5 per 1000 staff in 1998 to 6.6 in 2003
- Approximately £4.5 million savings through improved injury rate
- Acknowledgement of improved performance, enhancing staff morale and pride
- Improved reputation with key stakeholders
Health and safety benefits
- Over 80% reduction in the number of accidents, incidents and injuries
- Improved incident investigations, with prompt sharing of lessons learnt to prevent recurrence
- Improved safety culture – ownership at all levels with the commitment and competence to improve
- Significant increase in the reporting and resolution of hazards and near misses
‘The Partnership approach between Transco and its employees demonstrates commitment and involvement, which helps to sustain focus and improvements in health and safety.’
Ellis Brodrick, GMB Chairperson, Transco Joint Industrial Council
‘We believe all workplace injuries, illnesses and unsafe behaviours are preventable’
Bill Russell, Director of Safety
Health and safety has been integrated into normal business processes. So, explicit costs are hard to calculate, but major costs include:
- £2.5m for the Safety Charity Challenge, with donations to charity triggered by employees spotting and eliminating workplace hazards
- £600,000 direct costs of safety management and behaviour training.
In 1999 Transco calculated the cost of each LTI to be £6000. This included costs for non-availability of employees including, lost production, investigation costs and civil claims. The reduction in LTIs has saved about £4.5m over 4 years. There are also savings from reductions in non-lost time injuries and incidents, and from a reduction in civil claims.
The directors have supported the process from the start through regular communications, time at management meetings and, most importantly, getting out to meet employees.
Working with employees has been fundamental to the initiative’s success, with GMB and Unison Safety Representatives involved throughout. This includes joint meetings, communications, training, investigations and inspections.