Safety and (cyber)security
In a continually changing energy world that is undergoing a highly accelerated transition, working on the energy infrastructure is not without risk. Safety remains a priority, and we accordingly invest continually in safety measures, knowledge, professionalism and a proactive safety culture. We make no concessions in this respect. At the same time, we work on securing our data, privacy and information provision. This ensures the continuity of energy supply and the safety of our customers, employees and chain partners.
A key element in carrying out our work safely is consideration for everyone involved: our own employees and externally hired staff, employees of supply chain partners and subcontractors as well as customers and the environment in which we live. Close cooperation with all the parties involved is essential to achieving a safe result. Compliance with safety regulations and guidelines requires constant attention. We therefore make sure that our employees receive safety training, which they repeat at regular intervals. Our employees have the correct personal protective equipment and high-quality tools, which we check and approve during the annual equipment audit.
Stedin Holding N.V. as a whole again obtained certification for level 4 of the Safety Culture Ladder. The operating company in Zeeland obtained certification for level 3 of the Safety Culture Ladder in 2022. The aim is for this organisation to progress to level 4 in 2023. The Safety Culture Ladder is a standard that aims to improve safety awareness (attitude, behaviour and culture) and to make it a constant focus of attention. Five years ago, in order to raise this safety awareness on a lasting basis, we began employing an HRO (High Reliability Organisation) programme. HRO forms the basis for a sustainable safety culture. The programme also contributes to reliability and predictability in the chain processes (‘first time right’). We worked on embedding these features further in 2022. The associated activities are aimed at maintaining awareness by focusing on knowledge, competences and behaviour through continuous and individual learning. There was once again extensive attention paid to regular training on safety awareness among our employees in 2022. In April, we held our biannual E-days, which are intended for all electricity fitters.
Safety in the supply chain
Our supply chain partners also play an important role with regard to safety. Attitude and conduct linked to quality and safety are key priorities. How we involve our contractors in our health and safety system is explained below:
Registration of contractors’ personnel on site: When the works actually start, there is always a ‘start-work meeting’ Where we discuss the works, the particularities and the risks with the entire team. We record whether employees are present on a ‘start-work form’. If new personnel appear on site, they are also given a ‘start-work meeting’ and are registered. Stedin monitors this on a random basis on site and through workplace audits.
Procedures for contractors’ personnel in attendance on site: Contractors have a contract with Stedin to carry out certain works. Qualified personnel is required these works. This list of ‘authorised’ personnel is linked to our Electricity Business Operations (Bedrijfsvoering Electra, BVE) and our Gas Business Operations (Bedrijfsvoering Gas BVG). Our work and operational plans are recorded here, and qualified personnel is assigned to perform the work. Both our own employees and the contractor’s personnel. If an employee of Stedin or of a contractor is not qualified, this person cannot be assigned to perform the work. This assignment is made before the work starts.
Safety ladder: Stedin is certified for the Safety Culture Ladder, level 4. We require level 3 for our direct chain partners, and we ask them to work towards achieving level 4. For other parties in the chain, the minimum requirement will be level 2 with effect from 1 January 2024.
Workplace audits: We carried out 2,175 workplace audits in 2022. We make our reports and findings available in a secure portal which our contractors can access directly. We visit them once a quarter to discuss the results. We then look at their management system and their designations policy. We also assess these in the context of the BEI and VIAG requirements. We examine and discuss incidents and workplace accidents. Lastly, safety policy and its realisation are discussed as part of an annual executive review.
This year, we awarded the Stedin Safety Award for the 5th time. In 2022, this award went to our chain partner contractor Van den Heuvel, as this firm achieved the best performance on safety and quality in relation to the environment, demonstrating at all times and in all situations how safety and the environment go hand in hand. We also mentioned the chain partner with the best performance across the board in the past five years: Siers, which received a token of appreciation for consistent performance.
Golden Safety Shoes presentation
This year saw the five-year anniversary of the Stedin Golden Safety Shoes award. We present this award as a token of appreciation for colleagues who have demonstrated a commitment to improving physical or social safety in the workplace over a long period and/or in an exceptional manner. They set an example to the organisation. The award is a token of appreciation for the person or persons in question as well as a means of promoting commitment to physical and social safety and raising safety awareness.
The Golden (Social) Safety Shoes were presented to 13 employees in 2022.
Preventing workplace accidents
We aim to prevent workplace accidents. We place great importance on a safe and healthy working environment and minimising risks. We define workplace or occupational accidents as fatal accidents, lost-time injuries or accidents that require alternative work or medical treatment.
On 7 February, we were faced with a serious gas accident in Zoetermeer involving four people, three of whom were seriously injured. The fourth fortunately only suffered from the shock. This had a significant impact on our employees and colleagues. We aim to learn from this incident, with support from both the Dutch labour Inspectorate and the State Supervision of Mines (SodM). Our colleagues are now recovering well and actively involved in re-integration activities. There was another gas incident in Rijswijk on 16 November, prompting an investigation by the Dutch labour Inspectorate and the State Supervision of Mines. The contractor Van Gelder and Stedin are also investigating the circumstances of this incident and what we can learn from it.
We did not achieve our target of remaining below 34 accidents in 2022. We eventually recorded 35 accidents.
Type of accidents for Stedin Group
Number of fatal accidents
Number of lost-time injuries (lost-time > 1 day, LTI)
Number of accidents entailing alternative work (RWC)
Number of accidents without lost time requiring medical treatment (MTC)
RIF and LTIR
We monitor our safety performance on the basis of two ratios: RIF stands for Recordable Incident Frequency and measures the number of fatal accidents and lost-time workplace incidents, incidents entailing alternative work or incidents requiring medical treatment per 200,000 hours worked. LTIR stands for Lost Time Injury Rate and shows the number of lost time workplace incidents per million hours worked.
The recorded RIF was 0.91, while the target was a maximum of 0.90.
The recorded LTIR was 0.52, while the target was a maximum of 1.90.
Cause of accidents
Looking at the causes of workplace accidents, we see that most are directly related to work, such as contact with electrical voltage or cuts and burns. A substantial proportion of accidents are caused by bumping into things, falling or stumbling. The number of accidents due to participation in traffic has also substantially decreased in recent years as a result of training (even when considering the reduction in traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic).
Cause of accidents
Falling, stumbling, slipping
Participation in traffic
Total number of accidents
Causes of lost-time workplace incidents
Cause of LTIR
Falling, stumbling, slipping
Participation in traffic
Number of lost-time workplace incidents (including contractors)
The last five years show a downward trend. We believe that this trend is partly due to our efforts of raising safety awareness, in our organisation as well as among our supply chain partners. We have also worked on arranging temporary replacement work to keep our employees engaged and reduce absenteeism as a result of accidents.
Number of workplace incidents without lost time (including contractors)
Total number of workplace incidents (including contractors)
This is the total number of workplace incidents with and without lost time for Stedin Group and its contractors.
This is the ratio between the number of lost-time injuries and the number of workplace incidents.
Health and environment
Complying with the full range of environmental requirements and applying the correct environmental regulations in the various situations is not easy. In 2021, it was decided to compile a database for extraordinary environmental incidents as well as incidents that are recorded by the Ground Desk (Bodemdesk), for example. There were only minor additions to this database in 2022, which is positive. If such incidents occur, the experiences and references serve as a practical guide for the recognition, prevention and correction of environmental issues.
We also respond to legislation and regulations on hazardous substances or pollutants, such as asbestos, benzene and chromium-VI. which present risks to health in addition to the environment. For reasons of health, we encourage preventive measures such as care, orderliness and hygiene, especially in relation to corona.
Quality: certification and compliance
Stedin Group again demonstrably complied with the standards and guidelines in the field of safety and security, working conditions, environmental care, quality management, asset management, information security and crisis management in 2022. Stedin also achieved certification for its Business Continuity Management System (ISO 22301) in 2022.
Stedin Group certification
Stedin Holding N.V.
Certification in 2023
Safety Culture Ladder, level 3
Safety Culture Ladder, level 4
The theme of continuous improvement (Plan Do Check Act, PDCA) is crucial for improving quality. In view of the big challenges facing Stedin in relation to the energy transition, it is important to work faster and smarter and get things right first time (HRO). In 2022, we made a start on monitoring the timeliness and effectiveness of improvement actions based on the findings from certification audits. We will report on this from 2023 onwards.
Crisis management organisation
In 2022, the Crisis Management Plan (CMP) was updated, including with respect to ensuring adequate provision of information about crises through Grid-Centric Working (a working method where all parties involved share information as quickly as possible) and the deployment of information coordinators.
We are improving our crisis organisation by continuing the further training of the employees concerned, involving both information coordinators and new crisis managers. We also update our knowledge and experience by taking part in exercises, including at national level, with other crisis management organisations such as safety regions. This improves cohesiveness between the crisis organisation and ICT crisis management. The ICT colleagues concerned have followed knowledge sessions and training courses, among other things. We also work closely together in exercises.
From a safety perspective, alternative energy sources such as wind and solar energy, biogas and hydrogen present new opportunities and challenges. We are increasing the sustainability of our energy systems and developing new techniques, which involve the use of test locations. Whereas detailed safety guidelines and regulations exist for working with natural gas, they are currently absent for hydrogen. We are developing guidelines and regulations for hydrogen in consultation with Netbeheer Nederland.
In 2021, we again experienced a series of burglaries and thefts from our business vehicles and premises (in many cases involving copper theft). This prompted us to take extensive preventive measures to secure our critical infrastructure, which also includes working closely with the police and security firms.
Fraud and increasing aggression, threats and violence toward our employees required appropriate attention. We always report incidents of this nature to the police. Our staff are trained to de-escalate confrontations with aggressive customers.
Energy theft and safety
Sadly, we experience gas and electricity theft for criminal purposes or personal monetary gain on a daily basis. We work closely with the other grid managers in the sector to adopt a uniform approach to tackling theft and fraud and to recover any losses we sustain. It is important to coordinate our actions in this regard with the police, municipalities and the Public Prosecution Service.
We often encounter energy theft in relation to hemp farms. Criminals make huge earnings from this illegal cultivation. As the equipment they use consumes large amounts of electricity, the criminals tap energy by bypassing the meter. In 2022, six house fires in Stedin’s area were caused by hemp farms illegally tapping electricity (2021:11).
It is estimated that 15% of Stedin’s total network losses are caused by fraud (2021: 17%). That is approximately 120 GWh of electricity. Based on the 2022 kWh price, that amounts to an estimated loss of nearly €25 million per year (2021: over €6 million). The estimated loss in 2022 is significantly higher than in previous years due to high purchase prices. Detecting this type of fraud is therefore even more relevant.
264 hemp farms were discovered in Stedin’s service area in 2022 (2021: 399). We dealt with 881 cases of fraud in the same year (2021: 978). Alongside hemp farms, these cases include meter fraud as well as illegal connections and reinforcements, for instance.
So we are seeing a decline in the number of reports and cases of fraud in our service area. This is probably due to a combination of factors, including increasingly cunning fraudsters, less readiness by citizens to make reports, less attention to hemp cultivation by the police and the Public Prosecution Service (OM) and the higher number of disconnection jobs in the last six months, as a result of which less time was spent on the detection of fraud. This impression is shared throughout the sector by stakeholders and chain partners such as the police and the OM and our fellow grid managers. We assess the potential causes together and continually look for ways to increase our detection of fraud.
Cyber security is essential for the continuity of our business and one of the key risks for Stedin. For more information on the risk of cyber-attacks causing damage to society and business operations and how Stedin addressed this risk in 2022, see the section ‘Key strategic opportunities and risks for Stedin Group in 2022’.