Centralines completed its fourth consecutive year with No Lost Time Injuries in February.

The company introduced the Zero Incident Process (ZIP) programme in 2010 after a string of safety incidents. It invested almost $5,000 per team member that year and an additional $1,000 per team member each year since then to maintain the ZIP programme.

ZIP is a psychologically-based safety training programme run by Sentis, Australia. Companies use the tool to move from focusing on compliance to a more culture-based approach. This means individual team members’ attitudes are central to the success of ZIP.

Centralines has implemented a Public Safety Management System (PSMS) as per legislation surrounding electricity – the Electricity Amendment Act 2006 and the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010. The company’s PSMS passed its initial audit by Telarc in 2012 and for the past two years it has been assessed, and achieved the assessment annually.

The company’s PSMS SharePoint portal allows any staff member to log any public safety issue when identified.  An SMS administrator is notified via email when an issue is logged and then follows up with the respective department.

As a member of the ACC Workplace Safety management Practice Programme, Centralines has achieved a Secondary Level Achievement since 2004. The company initiated a self-audit in November 2013 in preparation for a Tertiary Level audit later in 2014.

Centralines is a community-owned electricity distribution business (EDB) located in Central Hawkes Bay. It is the third smallest network in New Zealand, employing around 30 staff, and covering approximately 333,400 hectares of easy to steep rugged terrain.

Training for safety

“Safety first” is the company’s first core value and staff are given the opportunity to increase their competency in their respective fields.

In the past two years, Centralines has put five line mechanics through liveline glove and barrier training, taking the total G&B complement to nine.  That is more than is required, but the company believes the higher level of training increases the individuals’ risk awareness and makes them, and the teams they work in, safer.

Health and Safety has been managed through a number of employee-employer initiatives. The Centralines Health and Safety Committee meets monthly to discuss all incidents as well as safety alerts and audits. The Committee has three worker and two management representatives who are rotated annually.

Monthly team briefs and Monday morning meetings also contribute to safety management practices.

Safety training and wellness programmes demonstrate Centralines’ commitment to its staff.

Annual competency testing is supported with refresher courses on everything from forklift driving to substation switching, defensive driving and equipotential earthing. The wellness programmes include Southern Cross health Insurance and fitness programmes.

Onsite safety measures include worksite safety plans that must be completed before any work commences; six-month hazard register checks; access permits and switching instructions; a list of ‘non-negotiable’ rules that must be adhered to by staff in the field; and lastly site audits on the company’s own work crews and contractors. All contractors are put through an induction programme.

Centralines say that unless a job can be done safely, it won’t get done till appropriate measures are in place and the team knows that approach is fully supported by management.

The Excellence in Health and Safety category is sponsored by the Electricity Networks Association.