Zero tolerance to accidents in the workplace is target for EDF human resources chief

Office workers at the UK division of power company EDF Energy are being taught how to walk up and down stairs by an HR director with a zero-tolerance approach to health and safety.

The company’s human resources (HR chief Tim Boylin wants staff to hold on to the handrail to make sure accidents are eliminated across the utility company’s 13,000-strong workforce.

The UK arm of the French-owned company recorded 87 incidents where working time was lost in the first seven months of 2007.

Boylin, who joined from utility company Thames Water in June, is investing heavily in training and awareness programmes to create a safer workplace culture.

“Zero harm is our goal,” he said. “To that end, we are offering a huge amount of training and redefining the way people work.

“It goes right down to encouraging people to hold the handrail when they walk up the stairs in the office.

“We are not embarrassed about that,” he added. “It might sound a bit ‘nanny state’, but if you want to have zero harm then you must be willing to do the basics.”

Boylin is also focused on improving staff morale at EDF Energy, despite the fact that 73% of its workers said they thought the firm was a ‘great place to work’ in 2006. Boylin said the employee-satisfaction target for 2007 had been raised to 80%.

Boylin revealed that he had reached HR director status despite not being a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

“The CIPD qualification is a useful badge to show what you have learned, but I’m in favour of people coming into HR from outside the function,” he added.

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