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.

We are accredicated to ISO 45001 which ensures we have all the correct policies and procedures in place to asses risk and investigate work related injuries, ill health, diseases and incidents, including risk & hazard assessments and internal inspections.

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.

We have realigned our Health and wellbeing strategy; Thriving at work with the key pillars of wellbeing within our workforce, focusing on mental health and MSK conditions. By adhering to NICE and HSE guidance and striving for standards of excellence with the Wellbeing Charter we hope to improve colleagues health & wellbeing. We continue to support our established community of over 350 Mental Health First Aiders and actively participate in local and national campaigns such as ‘This is Me.’ In addition to this, we have a rolling monthly calendar of awareness days and engage with different stakeholders such as Andy’s Man Club, Macmillan and Chasing the Stigma. We also 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, physiotherapy benefits, smoking cessation, diet and nutrition support and private healthcare

Personal Safety

Home Safe and Well is a core thread that flows through our Health, Safety and Wellbeing strategy of 3 pillars; Personal Safety, Process Safety and Health and Wellbeing. Over the last 12 months there has been an intentional focus on employee mental health and physical wellbeing, expanding our capability in this area by integrating behavioural risk controls in to our ways of working.

Since its launch in 2018 we have trained c.5900 colleagues in Home Safe and Well and continue to do so with new starters.

We are now in year 4 of our cultural journey where we have seen year on year improvements in our Health and Safety performance as well as shifts in positive health, safety and wellbeing attitudes, demonstrated in our GEM (going the extra mile) reports.

We are continuing to cultivate an environment where we look out for ourselves and each other, where our culture means health, safety and wellbeing is second nature. This ensures all our colleagues go home safe and well and we 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 2023 we have been awarded our 11th 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 2022/23 there were 31 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 0.72 injuries per million hours, and a ‘lost time’ AFR of 2.48 injuries per million hours. 

Employees FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021 FY 2022
Number of LTI’s 48 42 35 35 31
n/ million hours worked 4.62 3.87 2.98 2.83 2.48
Fatalities 0 0 0 0 0

In 2022/23 our contractors were involved in 28 injuries that resulted in an absence from work, 7 of which were reportable under RIDDOR.  This equates to a RIDDOR AFR of 0.61 per million hours, and a ‘lost time’ AFR of 2.43 injuries per million hours.

Contractors FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021 FY 2022
Number of LTI’s 32 30 24 15 28
n/ million hours worked 2.93 2.75 2.08 1.30 2.43
Fatalities 0 0 0 0 0

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).