Statnett has steadily improved its HSE results over the last few years. However, two years ago, the company saw that the results were plateauing, and in the early summer of 2016, two contractors working for Statnett suffered fatal work accidents. Statnett decided it was time to make a change.

18 months ago, Statnett started a programme called "Safe" to strengthen the internal culture for health, safety and the environment to ensure a further improvement in our HSE standard. All employees have now participated in “Safe”. In addition, last spring, the company launched another initiative, an extensive HSE action plan. Task forces working on the action plan have submitted a number of improvement measures that are now in the process of becoming part of Statnett’s daily operations.

Clearer roles and good planning

“Before we started the work on the action plan, we thought that we needed to have more people out at the construction sites supervising. As the work progressed, we have shifted the focus more towards clearer roles, responsibility and a proper presence and, not least, ensuring sound risk management and early planning and engineering,” says Senior vice president HSE in Statnett, Per Christian Øyan.

Over time, “the clear line” has become a familiar term in Statnett. It is about the distribution of roles and responsibilities between Statnett as the construction client and the contractor as the employer. “We need to place emphasis on the planning phase to safeguard our responsibility for safety, health and the working environment. Through this, we will also make it easier for those who will be operating and maintaining the facilities later on. Fortunately, we are far beyond the stage where HSE is just about wearing a helmet,” says Øyan. “When the facilities are being built, we need to have a balanced relationship between us and the contractor, where it is clear who is responsible for what. We can miss the target here both by micromanaging or being too hands-off,” says Øyan. This also involves making the HSE requirements clear in the contracts, and adding enough time for the contractor to plan the work safely.

The greater the risk, the greater the HSE requirements

“We are also changing the way we qualify suppliers to participate in competitive tendering, where we stipulate more stringent HSE requirements for those who will be performing work where the HSE risk is high.”

Broader spectrum of HSE measurements

Measurements of the HSE status in the company are also being expanded. From measuring sick leave and incidents that have taken place, which are so-called reactive indicators, Statnett are developing proactive or leading indicators that measure the HSE status before incidents take place. For example, the ability to sustain good maintenance management could be such a leading indicator.

Life-saving rules

Another result of the action plan is the development of nine life-saving rules. “This is about making it easy to make the right decision and to care for your colleague. There are a lot of rules and regulations at our workplaces. Through the life-saving rules we have picked out those important to avoid life-threatening situations in our activity, corresponding to our risk picture. We have looked at our statistics of incidents and the risk picture to identify these rules,” says Øyan. The rules are now being implemented in Statnett.

Overall, many hours have been spent making the workday safer for everyone who works in and for Statnett. Through the HSE Action Plan, the work has focused on twelve completely different initiatives that will have a broad impact in the organisation and the tasks we perform. Now, all the changes will be implemented into the daily way of work.

The initiative has been comprehensive and the line organisation has developed the measures, which has bolstered our efforts within HSE culture development. We see that the entire organisation is more aware of the significance of the HSE work. “We have built an HSE locomotive, and now we’re putting it on the rails,” says Senior vice president HSE Per Øyan.