Tackling pressures that undermine contractor health and safety
Simon Mackenzie, CEO, Vector
When the power goes off in a storm there can be huge pressure to get the lights back on. As a result, the contractors who maintain Vector's power networks can feel pressured to work when it's not safe.
We needed to step back and think about how we could help in this situation. Probably the most important step we too was to start telling the media and the guys in the field one simple thing – which was that if conditions aren't safe to work in we don't care whether the power goes on. We don't want people working till it's safe.
What we did about it
Vector began putting out messages before and during storms that its people would get the power on as soon as possible – but not until it was safe.
It also began posting images to educate the public about the conditions its contractors faced.
The tactic worked, and has helped alleviate the "pressure cooker" environment contractors work in during an outage.
An app designed to keep customers informed during outages also helped alleviate the public pressure on workers in the field.
There's much more positive feedback coming from people in the field, who say members of the community are now more understanding about the challenges they face.
The app has also helped reduce pressure on workers in the field - in just over 18 months it's had more than 6 million hits.