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Safety culture put to the test

Successful Safety Culture Ladder certification

Safety is a top priority for Swissgrid. As the operator of a critical infrastructure, Swissgrid has high requirements in terms of safety and reliability. This requires continuous development of the safety culture. Swissgrid has successfully passed the first Safety Culture Ladder (SCL) certification audit.

As the national grid company, ensuring the safety of people, systems and the environment is a top priority for Swissgrid. In order to meet the high demands placed on it both now and in the future, Swissgrid needs a safety culture that is implemented by everyone. By obtaining certification, Swissgrid has now reached an important milestone following the introduction of the Safety Culture Ladder (SCL) and the successful completion of the audit.

A certification audit according to the SCL methodology took place for the first time in March 2022. During the audit, the safety culture was assessed and evaluated by an independent testing authority using a five-step maturity model. The key issue was the priority given to occupational safety and health in the company, and to what extent this is reflected in the awareness and behaviour of the people concerned.

People at the heart of the safety culture

In the course of the audit, which lasted several days, the emphasis was on people and their safety behaviour. In dialogue with managers and employees from all organisational areas, as well as with service providers, the auditors gained a picture of how safety is put into practice at Swissgrid. The audit process particularly stood out because the auditors consistently refrained from verifying documents, instead concentrating on effective implementation in practice – explained and described in the words of the people interviewed.

Audit in the Gösgen substation
Visit to the construction site at the Gösgen substation as part of the SCL audit

Swissgrid’s attainment of the targeted step 3, which focuses on existing safety rules and compliance with them, was confirmed by the certification body in May. This result motivates Swissgrid to make even more progress in the area of safety. Both employees and service providers should approach the issue of safety even more proactively in future, with the common goal of making the work of every single person even safer every day.

Safety is a continuous process. Consequently, a safety culture must be systematically and sustainably developed. To this end, Swissgrid will examine the recommendations of the audit company and initiate appropriate measures. Progress on further development will be reviewed within the next two years via a re-certification audit.

SCL for service providers

By adopting an integral safety approach, Swissgrid is involving employees and service providers in the development of the safety culture in order to strengthen the safety awareness of all those concerned. Service providers play an important role, because ensuring a safe and reliable supply of electricity is only possible with their close cooperation.

Since January 2022, Swissgrid has required the introduction of the SCL by all service providers participating in new procurement processes involving activities on behalf of Swissgrid in which occupational safety plays a central role. This will make an important contribution to promoting a common understanding of safety.

Safety Culture Ladder

The Safety Culture Ladder (SCL) is based on a five-step maturity model; it is a certifiable method for advancing the safety culture in organisations across a wide variety of industries where physical safety (occupational safety and health protection) represents a heightened risk. The SCL focuses on how occupational safety is put into practice with the aim of continuously promoting safety awareness among all managers, employees and contractual partners (service providers). Although the SCL was primarily designed for the further development of occupational safety, the basic principle can be applied in all safety-relevant areas. The safety culture is developed according to five steps: the more pronounced the safety culture of an organisation, the higher the step.



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