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Safety and engineering awards for electricity industry

Safety and engineering awards - electricity industry achievements 2014

Auckland, 18 June 2014 - At the EEA Conference at Sky City in Auckland 18 June, four organisations and one young engineer were presented with annual electricity industry safety and engineering awards by Minister of Energy and Resources and Labour Minister, Simon Bridges.

“The electricity industry is continuing to focus on workplace and public safety and is recognised as one of the leaders,” commented Peter Berry, executive director of awards organisers the Electricity Engineers Association (EEA). “The award entries this year were a perfect illustration of that, with many high quality initiatives that are delivering real results around New Zealand.”

Workplace Safety
The award for workplace safety was presented to Unison Contracting for their 'GSP Journey' project. Actively participating in the EEA's Safety Climate Project, Unison Contracting has used this as a tool to help address hazard indicators, leadership and engagement in driving workplace culture improvement.

This builds upon the company's 2009 ACC accreditation to the highest level ‘Workplace Safety Management Practices’ programme and shows Unison are taking a sustained approach to improving safety. Results include a 37% reduction in incidents, lower injury rates and improved reporting.

The judges commented that; 'Unison Contracting demonstrates a significant commitment to employee involvement for an effective safety culture. The results are noteworthy.'

Public Safety
Auckland based energy company Vector has won the 2014 Public Safety Award for their Safety in Schools Programme. This award is supported by WorkSafeNZ and the EEA.

The Vector programme had been running for nine years and was refreshed, brought up to date and made more relevant to Kiwi kids.

A specially created character 'Zot and Energybot', engages children with games, activities, advice, facts and handy tips about staying safe around electricity and gas and educating them about sustainable energy. The programme has been delivered through over 550 school in the Auckland and Taranaki regions and to more than 110,000 children.

The Judges saw this as a significant revamp, well researched to ensure symbols and materials achieved engagement with young people. It continues to build on the existing programme and has gained positive response from teachers and students.

Engineering Excellence
The 2014 EEA Engineering Excellence Award winner is Electronet Services and Amethyst Hydro for the Amethyst Hydro Power Scheme.

The community owned 7.6 MW Amethyst Hydro Power Station was successfully commissioned in June 2013. The station near Harihari is just 500m from the Alpine fault line in a conservation area. It transports water 2.5km from the Amethyst river, producing 45 GWh of energy per annum.

The Judges stated; 'This is a hugely valuable resource for a local West Coast community, delivering both security of supply and a reduction in transmission losses. It was built with New Zealand technology and expertise in difficult terrain and with a low environmental footprint.'

A special Merit Award for Engineering Excellence was also presented to Mitton Electronet and Transpower for their joint entry; 'A Transmission Mobile Substation from Design to Operation'.

The award judges decided to give this in recognition of a project that they describe as; 'improving security of supply, where an outage would be a big impact and the time to restore power is important.'

Young Engineer
Supporting the next generation of electricity supply industry professionals and the contribution they will make to New Zealand's future, the EEA Young Engineer Award went to Dr Thahirah Jalal. A network investment specialist at Unison Networks, Dr Jalal has played a lead role in their smart grid vision.

Her prize includes travelling to Tokyo, representing New Zealand at the International Electrotechnical Commission Young Professionals Programme in November.

“Congratulations to all of this year's winners,” said Peter Berry of the EEA. “The very high standard of entries to these awards is a reflection of the thriving electricity supply industry that continually shows determination to keep improving our already high standards.”

The EEA engages with the whole electricity supply industry, which has a strong safety focus. The industry approach is based on leadership, safety by design, consistent industry safety rules and bast practice guides, supported by training, implementation and evaluation.

EEA safety initiatives include a national safety incident reporting system so knowledge can be shared among industry companies, and a safety culture benchmarking and improvement programme involving 28 industry companies.

2014 EEA electricity industry awards:

Workplace Safety
Winner – Unison Contracting
Finalists – Electrix, Vector, Orion, Northpower

Public Safety – supported by WorkSafeNZ and the EEA
Winner – Vector

Engineering Excellence
Winner - Electronet Services and Amethyst Hydro
Merit Award – Mitton Electronet & Transpower
Finalists – Northpower, Vector

Young Engineer
Winner - Dr Thahirah Jalal
Finalists – Jenny Chi, Julien Arts, Kieran Kennedy


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