Personal / Safety / Our approach

Safety always

Vector is committed to safety in everything we do. The only thing we care about more than keeping the lights on is keeping our community and our people safe. Vector’s aim is to manage the risks inherent in working and living around electricity, gas and other technology systems.

We want to be recognised as setting the standard for Health, Safety and Environmental leadership for New Zealand businesses.
Our management of health, safety and the environment is underpinned by key policies (Health and Safety, Process Safety, Environmental, Rehabilitation and Drug and Alcohol).
Our Health, Safety and Environmental Management System (HSEMS) details the minimum requirements for all Vector business units, subsidiaries and employees.  Compliance to these standards is audited on an annual basis with results being shared with the board.  The board also receives monthly HSE performance reports detailing injury statistics, drug and alcohol testing, near miss reporting, process safety KPI progress and updates on key HSE matters.  Our safety management systems are audited both internally and externally on an annual basis.
Our HSE objectives are to:

  • Deliver first class HSE performance
  • Drive safety leadership and culture that is embedded within all levels of the organisation
  • Strengthen both internal and external customer engagement

These objectives are supported by more detailed and measurable one, two and three year initiatives and key performance indicators.
Each business unit has an annual HSE improvement plan which supports the achievement of the group strategy. 
Our HSE performance is measured using a number of lead and lag indicators. These include HSE engagements by senior managements, employee uptake of occupational health services, annual leave days taken and owing, lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR), and total recordable incident frequency rate (TRIFR).  The severity of lost time incidents is measured by tracking and counting the number of working days lost due to the injury.  We consolidate all contractor and employee safety statistics to provide a holistic picture of safety performance in our business.

Our safety record is the result of a long programme of ongoing, proactive work and a wide range of educational and practical programmes with employees, suppliers and contractors.

As our health and safety performance has improved, we’ve been able to start shifting our focus from lag indicators like Total Recordable Injury Frequency rates (TRIFR) which are based on incidents that have already occurred, to lead indicators that measure proactive activities that prevent incidents occurring.

Lead indicator measures include mandatory health, safety and environment-focused site visits by employees in senior positions, health and safety culture and leadership training, auditing programmes, and an extensive programme of work that examines the human factors that contribute to workplace incidents.

Vector’s HEART (Human Error Assessment and Reduction Techniques) programme is based on the understanding that no one goes to work intending to be injured, and that the decisions and actions workers take make sense to them at the time given their goals, experiences, knowledge, motivation and focus of attention. However, mistakes are made and incidents do happen.

As an employer, it is our responsibility to create the conditions where the causes of human errors can be identified, managed and controlled to minimise their frequency and impact as much as possible. An important part of this is understanding the root cause of errors; that is, why an individual may take a particular course of action which may result in an incident.


Improved safety at work

We have made strong progress towards our safety goals this year, with a significant reduction in both the occurrence of injury incidents
and their severity.

Our focus on managing safety centres around the proactive steps we can take to avoid incidents. This includes training to ensure our workers have the right skills to do their jobs safely, audits and inspections to check we are delivering the right outcomes, and leadership engagement to demonstrate commitment from the highest levels of the organisation.

To track how we are progressing, Vector measures its Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) and Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR). This year we are pleased to report a 35% improvement in our LTIFR compared with FY18, and a 40% improvement in our TRIFR compared with FY18. Both LTIFR and TRIFR include our own directly employed workforce as well as our contracting workforce. A large portion of the TRIFR improvements have come from our contracting workforce (47% improvement compared with FY18).

Our severity rate (number of working days lost due to injury) has improved by 83% compared with FY18. This shows we are not only reducing both the occurrence of injury incidents but also the severity in nature of those incidents.


Supporting wellness

We have a personal resilience and wellbeing programme that runs throughout the year.  The programme provides employees with the opportunity to take part in many different wellbeing activities, including:

  • guest speaker engagements on a variety of wellbeing and resilience topics
  • monthly wellbeing challenges
  • employee assistance programmes (EAP)
  • access to wellbeing coaches and nutritional specialists
Our focus on promoting employee wellness continued throughout this year with initiatives stemming from feedback in our annual Wellbeing 360 survey and other initiatives. Highlights included our Blue September roadshows to raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer, and where more than 100 male workers underwent a prostate cancer screening test.

To promote healthier eating, wedelivered fruit trees and established vegetable gardens at our OnGas Bottle Swap plant in Papakura, providing ready access to a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. Feedback has been encouraging, and in the coming year we intend to repeat this initiative at other Vector sites.

Vector also welcomed back MINDsense founder Michael Duff, who ran a series of sessions with more than 100 employees participating each time. These sessions help our people to build a more positive self-view by exploring positive ways to direct thoughts, actions and outcomes. 

OnGas Bottle Swap Plant won Health and Safety Initiative of the Year at the 2018 Deloittte Eenrgy Excellence Awards.

Helping our people manage fatigue

We know fatigue is a key underlying contributor to many of our critical health and safety risks. With many of our people holding safety-critical roles, we want to ensure we are managing the risk of fatigue well. This year, we have adopted new technology to help.

Building on our safety awareness roadshows, which included fatigue management strategies, we are trialling the effectiveness of the Readiband device. Similar to a Fitbit, the device is worn on the wrist to record sleep data, and is helping to build a fatigue risk profile so we can proactively identify and manage fatigue issues.

Our OnGas business is also trialling the Guardian Seeing Eye Machine camera, which is installed in vehicles to detect eye movement, including ‘micro-sleeps’ and distractions. An alert is sent to the driver if the camera picks up any concerns. Depending on the effectiveness of this trial, we may install the cameras in the company fleet.


Through our Environmental policy we strive for continual improvement in our environmental performance.  To achieve this, the environmental components of our health, safety and environmental management system (HSEMS) align with ISO14001:2015.  We have identified the environmental aspects associated with our operational activities, products and services and strive to reduce our biggest impacts.

As with other large industrial operators, one of Vector’s most significant environmental impacts is the emission of greenhouse gases.  Vector aims to improve the measurement of its carbon footprint throughout FY17, and publicly disclose the result in our FY17 annual report. 
Vector has a growing focus on renewable technologies such as solar and batteries.

Other environmental initiatives that are currently underway include:

  • An increased focus on the environmental performance of our supply chain through revised contractor engagement and monitoring processes

  • Completion of asbestos surveys across our asset base

  • A review of the use of hazardous substances across our business

  • Recycling of office waste streams – including paper/cardboard, mixed recycling and organic waste, and

  • Introduction of LED lights and water aerators to reduce energy and water consumption.

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