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Case Study

Safety Culture Evaluation for the Energy Networks Association

The Client

The Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body for UK energy transmission and distribution organisations. It acts in the interest of the energy 'wires and pipes' sectors to achieve excellence in both its internal services and relationships with stakeholders. One of ENA's overriding goals is to enable its members' networks to be the safest, most reliable, most efficient and sustainable in the world.

The Problem

A number of incidents over recent years suggested that experienced, highly trained workers were allowing themselves to be exposed to unnecessary levels of risk whilst working with live electricity. In light of this, ENA's Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Committee took the decision to commission independent research to gain a greater understanding of the underlying behavioural and safety culture within the electricity networks sector. HSL was selected to perform this work.

What We Did

In partnership with HSL, ENA selected 2 member organisations to act as representatives for the networks industry. Experts from HSL's Work Psychology team worked directly with these companies to conduct both focus groups and structured one-to-one interviews. These encompassed a range of individuals from across the member organisation's workforce, and focused on specific areas which had been identified as particularly relevant:

  • Understanding the hazards
  • Competence and training
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Procedures
  • Supervision
  • Resources
  • Management Commitment
  • Supervision
  • Resources


A comprehensive report of the findings was produced for the benefit of both the ENA SHE committee and the ENA member. The results of the research reported on the perceptions, opinions, and understandings of the individuals and groups who were interviewed. This information has directly informed the new 5 year health and safety strategy for the electricity industry 'Powering Improvement'. Furthermore, building on the findings, the SHE Committee has agreed to develop a suite of guidance documents defining the key issues that need to be addressed to secure compliance and ensure that risks are adequately managed.

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"The project carried out by HSL has provided ENA with a useful indication of the prevalent safety climate within the networks industry in the UK. In a number of areas the work helped to confirm what we previously believed, and gave us an evidence base which has directly fed into our new 5-year strategy"
Peter Coyle, Operations Director at ENA

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