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Litgrid encourages company managers to put focus on occupational safety

Electricity transmission system operator Litgrid notes that occupational safety is not a business priority at Lithuanian companies. Litgrid, which organises contractor inspections on a regular basis, points out that the situation is not in essence changing in implementing work safety measures: during the 84 contractor workplace inspections that were carried out over the course of nine months this year, 51 violations were found that were directly related to occupational safety. However, changes in this area depend on the attitude of the company’s manager.
”We want to point out to all company managers that there is no such thing as a minor violation in the field of occupational safety – even a document that hasn’t been filled out properly can pose a threat to human life or health,” says Vidmantas Grušas, director of the Transmission Grid Department at Litgrid, which manages the high-voltage electricity transmission network. According to Mr Grušas, we must take better care of the safety of our employees because we are used to working in a hazardous environment, so people tend to become less vigilant, and that is when the greatest risk to their safety arises.
In order to ascertain the practices used by Lithuanian businesses in the organisation of occupational safety, Litgrid initiated a survey of Lithuanian companies.* The study revealed that the majority of company managers surveyed believe that the head of the company is first and foremost responsible for employee safety – six out of ten respondents stated as such. However, even though the company managers understand and assume responsibility for safety at work, 90 per cent of the respondents named negligent and irresponsible behaviour of the employees themselves as the reason for  the most frequent accidents in the workplace.
”The attitude among company managers that the employees themselves are most often to blame is erroneous, so we are using out experience and knowledge to try to make the issue of safety a business priority; then not only the attitude will change, but workplace accident statistics will as well,” states Mr Grušas.
A similar survey was also conducted on the European Union (EU) level. This revealed that improved employee safety and health results are visible in those companies where occupational safety is the direct duty and responsibility of the managers. It turns out that within the EU, an average of 40 per cent of companies periodically raise occupational safety issues at high-level management meetings, while in Lithuania only 14 per cent of organisations implement this practice.
According to Mr Grušas, 99 per cent of accidents could be avoided if occupational safety became a priority in all business processes. The EU survey results confirm that ensuring safety at work is greatly impacted by the active involvement of senior and line managers and the example that they set: if employees see that their manager abides to the rules, it encourages them to do the same.
”Working safely is first and foremost the responsibility of each individual, but in time, all dangers can become unnoticed. We therefore invite all of our partners and contractors to talk about this with their employees on a regular basis, and to re-check each day if we are really doing everything we can in order to come home from work healthy,” says Mr Grušas.
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